FBI Anti-Piracy warning may now be used by just anyone

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52 Responses to “FBI Anti-Piracy warning may now be used by just anyone”

  1. Art says:

    This logo is just begging for a Steampunk version for the Etsy artists :)

  2. valdis says:

    Not so fast…  The Fine Article actually says: ”

    The Justice Department is taking public comment on the proposed new rule
    through November 7, and the changeover will likely be approved by the
    attorney general soon thereafter.”

    So it’s in the pipes, but I’d not jump up and down and start using it just yet.

  3. Pag says:

    Just what the world needed: more useless unskippable government warning logos.

  4. Andrew Singleton says:

    Is there any sort of policy on one-offs and derivitives of the logo?

    Since I could so see some fantastic parody material with a ‘tweaked’ fed logo.

  5. Brian Damage says:

    Spell check title plz.

  6. Bauart says:

    OH GREAT! Cause, you know… the FBI warning has been *SO* effective in the past. /s

  7. Lynda Gutierrez says:

    Hmmmm –  “may now be used…” and “It is currently a violation” in subsequent sentences.  I think that scenario would require a reworking of the space-time continuum.

  8. asuffield says:

    I do get tired of seeing these stupid things, since like most people in the world, the FBI has no authority or jurisdiction over me.

    There should be some legal reason why you can’t wave those things around outside the US.

    • GyroMagician says:

      Agreed. These things always make me angry, spoiling the start of the film. They can be avoided  though, by using torrents, so I’m told. Another fine example of an anti-piracy device encouraging the general public towards piracy.

  9. tylerkaraszewski says:

    Wait, which of the following two sentences is true?

    1) The FBI’s anti-piracy imprimatur may now be used by any copyright holder, not just members of trade associations such as the RIAA and MPAA.
    2) It is currently a violation of federal law to use the anti-piracy insignia if you are not one of them.

    Thanks.

  10. Huwman says:

    Yes, as others have pointed out, “now” and “currently” should usually mean the same thing.

  11. Andrea James says:

    Fixed that for you. (apologies for quick shoop and old joke)

  12. Both of them are true, clearly.

  13. Deidzoeb says:

    Fifty lashes with a wet noodle to anyone who pirates this comment. All rights reserved.

    • valdis says:

      But what if said pirating is covered by fair use? (After all – Fifty lashes with a wet noodle *could* be Really Bad News – if you happen to be victim of a corrupt judicial system that’s getting a kickback from World’s Biggest Linguini, Inc.  Those suckers run 400-500 pounds once properly cooked….)

  14. AwesomeRobot says:

    So I can and can’t use it now? Got it.

  15. nosehat says:

    I’m rather astonished that the FBI anti-piracy warning was restricted in this manner to begin with!

    If a big studio makes something, it is protected by copyright.  If an individual makes something, it is also protected by copyright. Copyright should protect them both equally, and in theory it does.  But of course this logo isn’t about the fact that the work is protected by copyright; it’s also about the fact that the FBI might get you for violating that copyright.  OK, but the FBI is part of the US government, and if you are a US citizen, you have theoretically just as much right to the FBI’s protection as a big company.

    If the logo were for a private security firm that the RIAA and MPAA had hired to protect their stuff, such a restriction would make sense.  (If I live two blocks away from a mall, I can’t put up a sign on my yard saying my house is protected by Mall Security, LTD, the rent-a-cops that the mall employs.)

    Yes, I know that the US government is basically in service to the big corporations, not the individual citizens.  Yes, I know that Big Content acts as though the FBI is its own, private rent-a-cop firm.  What surprises me is how this hypocrisy got enshrined in official policy:  Big Content can claim the protections of the FBI, but it’s illegal for private citizens to do so, and private citizens can go to jail for up to 6 months if they try to claim the same level of protection as the RIAA.

    So I guess this is a step in the right direction, but the original restriction still leaves behind a lot of WTF that needs explaining.

  16. Finnagain says:

    Hey! That’s MY logo!

  17. Lemoutan says:

    As a citizen of the UK (or a subject of its Queen, if you’d rather) I find I’m not only confused by the fact that I may simultaneously both now, but not currently, use this logo to protect my copyright (an international agreement known as the Berne Copyright Convention btw). I’m also confused by who this logo belongs to. Is it some outfit known as the “Federal Bureau of Investigation“, or some other bunch known as the “Fidelity Bravery Integrity” (presumably some insurance company)?

  18. Just_Ok says:

    When will they allow us to use the Anti-Ninja logo?

  19. Yes, but what license will the logo be? CC-by-nd?

  20. Mark Dow says:

    This violation may currently be used.

  21. Mister44 says:

    Mmmmm – still not as cool as the anti-drug ones at the beginning of video games.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/175/482022940_7880702acf.jpg

  22. Kibo says:

    Oh geez. This thing is a typographic abomination. Bookman Oldstyle with embossing and a Gaussian-blur shadow… and r eally ba d ker nin g. And they didn’t adjust the teensy lowercase-styled hyphen that’s plopped down in the middle of all those capitals it doesn’t want to line up with. What’s with the melted-looking “A” in “BRAVERY”? Also, four of the five-pointed stars are in almost the same orientation… with the fifth being in the opposite orientation…

    This thing looks more slapped-together than an Identikit picture.

    The only way it could be worse would be if it were used Comic Sans for the consonants and Tekton for the vowels, surrounded by a bunch of 8-pointed snowflakes, with one 7-pointed one drifting over a 9-sided pink “STOP” sign lettered in Papyrus. And a lens flare to top it all off, with ragged edges due to mis-use of the Photoshop magic wand.

    If the FBI really wants to influence people’s behavior, they need to design their visual assets better — otherwise, the only message the FBI is communicating is “We barely know how to use the copy of DumpWare ValueSoft Logo Composer In A Box 2006 that we bought at Walgreens. So don’t expect us to know how to do DNA matching or IP address tracing or anything. We can’t even afford software that can do automatic kerning.”

    • bardfinn says:

      Welcome to the horror that is the product of The Institute Of Heraldry, under the auspice of the office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Not the Institute of Heraldry, always The Institute Of Heraldry.

      They have invented a heraldic colour they call “buff” — the natural colour of tanned leather — which to the rest of the world is khaki because it’s executed in cloth.

      The Institute employs a few military and a dozen or so civilian artists. Each insignia must conform to a stack of DOD/DOJ/Executive Branch regulations.

      I suspect it’s where they send the artists who screw up in Treasury while working on currency.

    • CountZero says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    • Crispian says:

      I grant you it’s no work of art.

      You clearly have technical knowledge and a sense of aesthetic but I do think you misperceive some of the elements. You note the melted-looking “A” in “BRAVERY” – and it is pretty bad – but it’s part of the “style” used on the ribbon. Note the “N” in “INTEGRITY.” It’s all kind of squished and tilted, part of an “effect” of lettering on a ribbon. So I grant the whole style was bad, but the “A” wasn’t a clear abberation. And you look at the stars in an interesting way. The bottom star was intentionally oriented upward. The other stars are meant to radiate out from the top and bottom. Again, maybe not the best design choice, but it wasn’t some kind of crazy inconsistency. In summation, yes it’s sloppily done, but not inconsistent in the way you suggest. At least it’s not as idiotic as the logo for the “Department of Innovation.” Okay, well maybe it is as idiotic, but in a different kind of way.

      • Kibo says:

        You clearly have technical knowledge and a sense of aesthetic but I do think you misperceive some of the elements. You note the melted-looking “A” in “BRAVERY” – and it is pretty bad – but it’s part of the “style” used on the ribbon. Note the “N” in “INTEGRITY.” It’s all kind of squished and tilted, part of an “effect” of lettering on a ribbon.

        Um, no. Putting letters on a ribbon doesn’t magically make the “eye” of an “A” smaller, or its crossbar double-thick, or its top pointy. The distortions in those letters on the ribbon are the result of crummy software mangling the contours, not an intentional distortion. If the letters had been transformed with something like an envelope of Bezier splines (as with Adobe Illustrator’s distortion tools) the different parts of the letter wouldn’t have changed proportions relative to each other. Parts of the letters got shifted around by a program too wimpy to be able to bend the letter as a whole (the sort of smooth deformation that would be applied when doing hand lettering for this sort of thing.) If the letters had been correctly “ribboned”, their tops and bottoms would curve smoothly, rather than the individual letters simply being rotated into a jagged line. See how the “B” in “BRAVERY” is just plunked down flat onto a curved part of the clip-art ribbon? This is the sort of ugly thing that used to plague the world thanks to WordArt.

        And you look at the stars in an interesting way. The bottom star was intentionally oriented upward.

        Of course someone intentionally rotated these stars into these positions, but none of them is pointing at the center of the circle, except in the vaguest sense. The bottom one is not “oriented upward”, except for vague notions of “upward” — its top spike is pointing at about 1 o’clock, neither straight up nor clearly “not up”.  Similarly, the other four are not quite pointing directly in or out of the circle.

        The other stars are meant to radiate out from the top and bottom. Again, maybe not the best design choice, but it wasn’t some kind of crazy inconsistency.

        I beg to differ with you. In my view, in graphic design, things that almost line up or otherwise almost match are the worst possible design choice. Things should either match or contrast. Things that don’t quite match or align indicate that whoever did the design was less visually perceptive than those of us looking at it. It’s not hard to make things line up. We can disagree on whether the stars should all be pointing to 12 o’clock or all towards the center or whatever, but that’s no excuse for a layout where someone chose to plonk them down without caring enough to even notice they’re misaligned. It would actually be less visually offensive if their orientations had been random. They clash due to four of them going in almost one direction and one going in almost the opposite direction (yet none of them going to any points dictated by any design philosophy.)

        What we might imagine the designer wanted to do is irrelevant, trumped by the lazy execution. It looks bad, even amateurish, and that can’t be rationalized away. (And of course it’ll look even worse on a 48″ 1080p TV.) You’re talking about what the chef was intending to do when he developed the recipe, and I’m saying it doesn’t matter because the stuff was just dropped onto the plate from a great height.

        Think of it this way — the amount of time you and I have spent discussing this is more than it would have taken the designer to zoom in and rotate the stars into any sort of natural or symmetrical position. But they were too lazy (or too inept, or too ill-equipped) to put as much effort into designing it as it took us to look at it analytically. I’m not criticizing the high-level choices involved in this logo — I’m simply saying that they didn’t draw it right. Your suggestion that I “misperceive” it doesn’t make me think “Oh, there must be something wrong with me if my eyes tell me it sucks.” I blinked my eyes a few times and the technical proficiency of this artwork still sucks.

        Sorry for the rant, but I used to do this sort of lettering/design for a living, and I get passionate about design this egregiously bad, especially when it’s intended to be persuasive. (Bad decorative art isn’t as offensive as bad propaganda art.)

        Oh, and here’s a free tip for any taxpayer-funded FBI logo designers in the house:  If you get another assignment to put three words onto a ribbon, draw your own ribbon rather than cramming words of three different lengths into a piece of clip-art with spaces that don’t fit the words. Drawing a ribbon isn’t the hardest part of the job. Draw your own squiggle. (And you might also consider using a font that didn’t come free with your computer, perhaps even something evocative of the era when official seals had engraved ribbons all over them, as opposed to Microsoft’s imitation of the ’70s version of Bookman.)

        • Steve Miller says:

          “Think of it this way — the amount of time you and I have spent discussing this is more than it would have taken the designer to zoom in and rotate the stars into any sort of natural or symmetrical position. But they were too lazy (or too inept, or too ill-equipped) to put as much effort into designing it as it took us to look at it analytically. I’m not criticizing the high-level choices involved in this logo — I’m simply saying that they didn’tdraw it right. Your suggestion that I “misperceive” it doesn’t make me think “Oh, there must be something wrong with me if my eyes tell me it sucks.” I blinked my eyes a few times and the technical proficiency of this artwork still sucks.”

          OTOH, the execution is spot-on for the concept behind the device.

        • redesigned says:

          The bottom one is not “oriented upward”, except for vague notions of “upward” — its top spike is pointing at about 1 o’clock, neither straight up nor clearly “not up”.

          omg…you are right.  the more i look at the the worse it gets.  it is like my brain has intentionally blocked certain aspects from registering fully as a sort of subconscious protection mechanism.

          at least the execution matches the level of crapiness of its intended use and the ideas it stands for.  they did a good job making sure no one would ever take it seriously.

          i’m guessing the designer was a huge filesharer and this was their subversive way of saying FU to them.  it is too bad to be accidental kind of like getting every single answer wrong in a true false quiz, you can’t mess things up this bad unless you are doing it on purpose…

          • Kibo says:

            it is like my brain has intentionally blocked certain aspects from registering fully as a sort of subconscious protection mechanism.

            Isn’t it amazing how sometimes our brains are smarter than we are? Our brains work hard to keep out some of the environmental badness in which we’re soaking, but occasionally we can outsmart our brains and trick them into letting some of the badness in so it can be enjoyed ironically, or at least dissected like a lopsided frog.

            We’re surrounded by bad graphic art, and it’s all working to gradually make us dumber (through osmosis), but if you look at the badness long enough, it makes you get smarter. Fighting this war against our brains causes both us and our brains to get smarter through exercise, a sort of noetic isometrics. I would like your help finding ways to harness this effect for the common good, or at least for financial gain. Maybe if we can make stuff that looks sufficiently bad, it will help people fight the war against their brains. I think Warhol tried that. (The heavy, mangy wig was part of his war against his brain.)

      • redesigned says:

        I disagree, it is worse then even Kibo implied, you might want to look closer, because your two rebuttals are incorrect.  my eyes want to commit suicide just looking at this hideous monstrosity.  as a designer these things stand out way more for us and are a punch in the face.

        wrong: The melted A is disproportionately distorted on the banner compared to the other letters, not just due to a text treatment in order to follow the banner flow.  The B & R were kept normal they intentionally made the A line follow the V line.

        wrong: The stars are all aligned the same except the one, they aren’t radiated out as you suggest, the top two have their gaps pointed to the center the bottom two their points, the reason for this is that they are not rotated or aligned from the center, unlike the presidential seal, etc.  Their drop shadows are at different angles as well.

        even worse: FBI ANTI-PIRACY and WARNING have different levels of embossing and different opacity and depth and lighting angles of drop shadows.

        much much worse: the D & E and F & N from the outside white text, actually overlap the anti-piracy warning rectangle’s edges.

        don’t even get me started on the kerning or the 3D treatment of the rings or the gradient/reverse gradient on the gold outside.

        Like Kibo stated…It looks like they bought a blue award clipart and just threw everything else on using some bargain bin mid 90′s logo creator win98 software crap-fest.

        I could create a better logo in the toilet using my butt.

        Maybe this is their way of saying…we are so bad ass that if we are willing to use a logo this bad we will stop at nothing including torture.

  23. irksome says:

    Sweet. I just found my new watermark.

  24. William says:

    Just isn’t the same unless we’re also allowed to have the circa-1990 craquelure blue background

  25. futnuh says:

    If Mexico ever decides to make an FBI-brand beer, they can pirate this logo for the bottle-top. The irony would be delightful.

  26. magicdragonfly says:

    Can this post be re-written, please? The law hasn’t been changed yet: it’s still a crime to use the logo if you’re not part of the cartel.
    As written, the post contradicts itself: “The FBI’s anti-piracy imprimatur may now be used by any copyright holder, not just members of trade associations such as the RIAA and MPAA. It is currently a violation of federal law to use the anti-piracy insignia if you are not one of them.” So on the one hand, the logo can be used by anyone, but on the other hand, “It is currently a violation… if you are not one of them”.
    Which one is it? If you go by the first sentence, it’s fine to use the logo, but if you go by the second sentence and the Wired article, it’s a violation.

  27. awjt says:

    I totally read that thing as “Anti-Privacy Warning.”  Probably because it’s 3am.

  28. Javier Candeira says:

    I am going to affix it to my GPL software. After all, infringing on my copyright by distributing the software outside the permissions given in the license is piracy, right?

  29. benher says:

    “Fidelity Bravery Integrity”
    The last word made me laugh so hard I shot pirate grog out of my nose!

  30. technogeekagain says:

    Hm. A painting is a copyrighted work. Any copyright holder may use the logo. Ergo: Painting of pirate ship with this logo on its sails… I’m not going to attempt to execute it, but someone should.

  31. Tino says:

    Best thing about my modded DVD player? I can skip ALL THE THINGS! 

  32. DewiMorgan says:

    “The logo can only be affixed to copyright works, and it cannot be altered or used in a “manner indicating FBI approval, authorization, or endorsement.””

     - So pretty much all uses in this thread are apparently violations.

  33. Thad Boyd says:

    You know, I spent the weekend playing Street Fighter 4 and I’ve just realized the thing I miss most isn’t the awkward white-guy-punches-out-black-guy-neither-of-whom-actually-appear-in-the-game intro, it’s the WINNERS DON’T USE DRUGS screen.

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