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Creative Barcode

Creative Barcode is a company based in the UK that offers a system to help creatives protect their work in it's most fragile stage -when it's still unpaid.

In this profession of sharing precious visual ideas, there are instances in which a little extra protection is needed in order to avoid future headaches. This is the idea behind Creative Barcode.

Creative Barcode is a company based in the UK that offers a system to help creatives protect their work in it’s most fragile stage -when it’s still unpaid. It integrates barcodes, ftp services and intellectual property rights.

From what I could gather on their website and in other online articles, it provides a paid way to add an electronic signature to your work, and once the client has agreed to pay for it, it provides a way for your to sign the rights over to them.

By buying the rights to use their barcodes (it involves an annual fee plus a pay-per-use model), you can send your files to your clients (or prospective client) using their file sharing system, knowing that they will bear a digital signature that identifies them as your property, and that your client  will have electronically agreed to the terms and conditions of your relationship. Their system also tracks when the client accesses the files, and since they have signed an electronic agreement, it can be used as evidence of when the file was viewed in case that the relationship resulted in a legal battle.

You can read more from about the idea here. And below is a picture of what the barcode looks like.

I personally didn’t understand the extent to which this system solves the complex problem of protecting and eventually defending your intellectual property.

Lets say an industrial designer who present their ideas to possible investors and routinely require confidentiality agreements embeds this bar code into a sketch. The client can just take that same sketch and show it to another industrial designer who can replicate it, or modify it so it flies under the patent infringement radar.

There will be an electronic agreement, but that puts us right back where we started, because the designer would have take the client to court (still very a difficult thing to because of the chance of being stuck with legal fees).

In the world of graphic design, it seems like it would be useless if people receive a graphic piece with a barcode somewhere in the image, because they can a). cut out the barcode and use part of the image or b). replicate the image using design software.

I started out thinking this was certainly a step in the right direction, but now I’m going into all the possibilities for foul play and I just don’t see how this adds a level of protection to any creative product. Feel free to disagree with me in your comments below!



One thought on “Creative Barcode

  1. Maxine Horn says:

    Thanks for airing this Diana and your thoughts – much appreciated.

    The main missing point (not your fault its a deep subject) is that it is about safe disclosure, ownership identification, ‘permission’ based use all under pinned by the mutually agreed terms of the Trust Charter.

    And importantly it is a system for proposals and conceptual works created for the purpose of response to brief/pitches/tenders and so forth. Meaning, confidential material that is not in the public domain but instead, one to one transaction/exposure between creative’s and industry.

    The behaviour you describe above regards a client showing works to another party and replicating (which we all know goes on) is one of the core reasons UK designers developed Creative Barcode.

    Before Creative Barcode there was no system in place with a clear agreement between file disclosure and the recipient.

    The recipient who agrees not to use the Creators proposal/concepts in any manner without their permission has given an enforceable undertaking.

    If they then knowingly breach that agreement they are purposefully doing so and run the risk of being exposed. Not a good career move

    Most people are fundamentally honest.

    Any breach is supported by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) who would intervene on behalf of the Creator.

    And recourse if a breach occured is not a drawn out legal case and copyright spat.

    It is a straightforward, unemotional, breach of agreement, where CB provides the evidence

    CB is also not designed to be confrontational or one-party sided.

    It has very strong benefits for the client side, who if challenged by another party regards the source of the orginal works, have that source, without any doubt, at their disposal.

    I hope this helps to clarify this for your readers and demonstrate that it is a very positive step for both parties. And a cost and time efficient application. It’s just £30 per year including 5 barcodes, with additional barcodes at just £4 each.

    It is designed to prevent misunderstandings, improve new business activity and relationships with a clear understanding of terms. It will therefore reduce inadvertent (or even deliberate) mis-use of Creators conceptual works and proposals.

    Best regards, Maxine


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