Jon Engle: The Logo Scam Artist

6th April 2009
All posts

[edit 21/8/09: Jon Engle is proven to be a scam artist. Glad I didn’t donate money to him, but feel suckered nonetheless.]

I can barely put into words how scary and unjust confusing this lawsuit against Jon Engle is. Edit 4/11/09: Hrm. And now the website is gone. Interesting.

To summarize, Jon has posted his portofolio work to LogoPond and other similar sites only to find out those images have been “re-appropriated” to one or more stock image sites. Now he’s being sued for this being charged for misuse of his logos on a particular stock site, something he (claims) he did not do.

The stock image sites, not understanding that the stolen logos were in fact his work, are now suing him for copyright infringement!

It gets better. Lawyers offered him a “settlement” that equalled the amount he’s being sued for. Ludicrous.

The question

The question in my mind is, as you get more successful in your work (Jon has worked on some very famous campaigns in the United States) how do you protect yourself from having your work used against you? It seems that not only is creative ownership at stake, but the freedom to show ones own work online as well.

Once again greedy companies on the internet who don’t bother to fact check are able to ruin independent designers simply on the basis of how much cash they have in their coffers. When does it end and when does the world wake up and start enacting real legislation instead of these ambiguous copyright laws that don’t apply to today’s content or today’s economy?

Content creators should be protected because they enrich our world.

I’m proud New Zealand has struck down its awful s92a legislation, so poorly worded as to be completely draconian idiotic by accident (I hope!), because at least it shows that when the masses speak here, justice can still be done.

In the States things are so litigious that people sue each other not out of principal but for principal (eg. $$$!). The only way out of being sued, more often than not, is to succumb to paying a fee that is somewhat less than fighting the lawsuit would cost. That’s not justice, it’s criminally insane.

I was in a front-ender (got backed into) and my then insurance company decided it was better to just pay $1500 to fix my car rather than go after the money from the driver’s insurance company. Wha?

With Obama in office it’s become a much friendlier environment and it seems the quiet protests of the last 8 years are finally beginning to be heard.

But why do we have to wait for the world to rise up before we realize something’s fundamentally wrong with our laws governing creative content? We have too many facts now to ignore but still not enough, apparently, to stem the tide of cash the corporate establishment is using to try to protect its interests.

And Jon Engle is now a casualty of this corrupt system. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this. Jon Engle has made his case online, and there are those who think he might not be telling the whole story (The Logo Factory Blog).

What can we do?

The time is now to send the message that we want our rights protected, not squandered and sold to the highest bidder. Before long we won’t have any original content left out in the open — it will all be underground, like the French Resistance in World War II.

This must happen even if it costs more than the lawsuits. Creativity is at stake.

(Photo credit.)


Nathaniel Flick

I'm a Front End Web Developer passionate about usability. My primary specialties are HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, LESS, and jQuery and I am very familiar with Foundation and Bootstrap frameworks. I've worked on top of and with WordPress, Shopify, Rails, Python, and frameworks.