Just in January we shared with you a post where we wrote about a big fuss about one of the two most known Christmas ad with the Paddington Bear as a main character. We did not mention the second one – of John Lewis, with the monster Moz. The second one became a big fuss too. We found the information on the blog of our business partner the Carter Lemon Camerons, law firm from London – entitled John Lewis facing potential copyright dispute over Christmas advert”. We read there:

“(…) Moz’s appearance has reportedly upset writer and illustrator Chris Riddell, who claims that the endearing monster is too similar in concept and appearance to a character from his children’s picture book, Mr Underbed. (…) In response to the accusations, John Lewis has said that the idea of a “big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping” has been a long-running theme throughout literature, TV and film for many years.”


Here we came to point of wondering again: Do the ad giants do it purposely to gain publicity? Hmm.. it is hard to assess, since an unfavourable fame isn’t necessarily positive.

How is it with this copyrights? According to the https://www.dacs.org.uk/knowledge-base/factsheets/works-in-the-public-domain:

“In the UK, copyright in artistic works generally lasts for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years after their death.”

And artistic works means everything creative, so it is extremely difficult to not infringe anybody’s intellectual property, even by coincidence. Luckily – or not- everybody will tell you to search for a legal advice if you tend to use something what you found published to the public.

There were, there are and there will be plenty of cases of infringement of copyrights. The most common are those connected with music. Spotify faces a claim is sued for $1.6bn for hosting songs of Tom Petty, Neil Young, Janis Joplin and the Doors. The singers like Eminem, Beyonce, Demi Lavato, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran and many, many more names are involved in various lawsuits being sued or suing other parties. And this a last year only…

Plenty of cases are related to visual brand identity symbols, characters, and here you can find accusations against Starbucks who despite of a countersue, finally lost $710,000 for copyright and trademark infringement to the benefit of owners of a Grumpy Cat. Another giant Nestle has been accused of copyright violation who used the classic Atari game Breakout coloured bricks  and replaced them with the  KitKat bars.

There are also some obvious and seriously harmful copyright infringements connected with information, photographs or other works being hacked from people’s computers.

Such examples could go in thousands. What we would like to advice you with is connected with images. We often  notice something nice on the Internet and download it. However, if you need to use an image for any further purposes, you should first consider its origin. Let us to give you couple of tips on where to look for pictures- following the advise of M. Maj.

Here you are:

–  Google – when searched by images –  go to Tools – and than to usage rights

– Yahoo – when searched by images- go to License and change for a Public domain

– Flickr – Photos- go to any license – and pick the one according to your intention

There are also safe services offering completely free images for free use:

– Pixabay

– Pixels.com

– Unsplash.com

– Commons.wikimedia.org – (however double check the creative common and GNU FDL  some issues may appear later on- do not take the risk).

In summary, our reflection is – that the line of breach someone’s rights is very tiny. Our brains store a lots of information, pictures, music… And sometimes, we may get lost in ideas and start wondering whether was it actually my idea or have I heard it before???