How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

Hello, Ive produced a poster of pubs and bars in my city

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I've produced a poster of pubs and bars in my city in the style of the London Underground map (the copyright for which is held by Transport For London, TFL).

I've had the poster printed and provided to a Tourist Visitor Centre who then wanted to distribute the poster as a postcard. They submitted the design to their own printeer who has expressed concerns about possible infringement. Their comments were:

I’m a little bit concerned about copyright and I think it needs looking into by your legal department. I don’t wish to throw a spanner in the works deliberately but there could be potential problems.The concept of the Leeds Orderaround map is clearly taken from the London Underground map designed by Harry Beck in 1931. The copyright holder of the original map is Transport For London. I would class this as what is called “Derivative work”, i.e. based on or adapted from another work - the London Underground Map - and could therefore be regarded as an infringement of copyright.Does the designer of the Leeds Orderaround map have permission? If not, there could be problems in reproducing it. It seems that Transport For London are quite hot on taking people to task for infringement. At best you might have to take the items off the shelves and relinquish any monies, at worst they could make a claim in the civil court.I’m not qualified to give definite advice on this but I do think it would be advisable to investigate further.

You can see a watermarked PDF of it here:

http://www.albanydesign.co.uk/images/shop/Leeds_Orderaround_WATERMARKED.pdf

I've not shown the map to TFL or contacted them about it.

Whilst creating it I was wary of copyright infringement and avoided use of TFL's own font and direct use of their roundel and crossbar logo.
Use of any other elements in the general design like the colours of lines and the station markers are in use in lots of other ways that are in the public domain but this has worried me all the same.

I don't know what to do now. I'm also worried that if I do contact TFL, they'll protest in any case.

I need advice.

Kind regards,

Steve Lovell
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Am I correct to understand that you have not sought permission to date from TfL please?

Customer:

Hello, no, I have had no contact with them.

Joshua :

Thanks. I am grateful for the link you supplied. I fear that I also have concerns that your poster will constitute a derivative work and hence be liable to potential claims for infringment by TfL. The basic test for a deivative work is whether there is a causal link between the original and dervative or whether the original simply formed the inspiration for an intirely new work - essentially would a reasonable person readily recognise the original work in your own.

Joshua :

The concern here is that there would appear to be a clear causal link between the two works - indeed that is your intention presumably, to create a poster that is based on the design of the underground map to show the local bars in an interesting way.

Joshua :

Furthermore you have used the logo of the TfL in a modified manner which is a trademark and this mayy lead to a further claim of infrinement of TfLs trademark.

Joshua :

Accordingly I consider it would be very brave to publish this without obtaining permission from TfL. TfL can be fairly aggressive in protecting their IP and their lawyers are quite active in pursuing what they consider to be infringement.

Customer:

So I should probably contact them so they can formally advise me to cease and desist, as they're unlikley to see it favourably.

Joshua :

I don't think you should have a problem publishing as such with permission. TfL grant thousands of licences each year to a range of products and they have a scale of charges they puclish from time to time.

Joshua :

They may even confirm that they do not consider this to be a derivative work but I suspect that is not likely.

Customer:

Well, I think that'll be as good as a shut down because if it wa sused under license, they'd expect their unadultered logo to be used and a licence would probably cost far more than I could ever expect to make from this.

Customer:

I'll email them and wait for the inevitable order to stop immedaitely then.

Customer:

Oh dear.

Joshua :

Well their prices appear to be in the region of £150 + VAT for a print run of up to 8000. That is for reproduction of the original map and they may view this differently. If they confirm they do not view this as a derivative work of course you are away and clear.

Customer:

Well thanks for your help. I think that's about all for now. Do you think I should use any specific terminology or plea in my contact wjth them?

Joshua :

A letter advising that you wish to publish a work that they could potentally deem constitutes a derivative work as per the enclosed and seeking confirmation that they have no objection to your publishing the same on the basis that you have made significant enough changes to their copyrighted work in order to satisify their requirements is along the lines of what you require.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

No, that's fine thank you.

Joshua :

I wish you well for your project and hope Tfl view it postively.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you