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Photo from PetaPixel website
Photo from PetaPixel website

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Rip-off or not: Croatia coin design winner blamed for plagiarism

The winner of Croatia’s coin logo competition is accused of copying the design from a 17-year-old photo taken by a Scottish photographer and has since withdrawn from the competition and returned the prize money.

Croatia needs a new coin design for circulation as it is adopting the Euro currency in 2023. To achieve this goal, the country’s central bank had organized a competition for the best design.

Out of all the proposals it received, the design of a pine marten standing on a branch by Stjepan Pranjkovic was chosen to be printed on the coin.

However, as soon as the winner was declared and awarded 70,000 Kunas (approx EUR10,000), everything went wrong. The winning design was instantly recognized by social media users as being identical to a photo taken by Scottish photographer Iain H. Leach in 2005.

Leach was taken aback when he was notified of the award-winning Euro coin design that looked almost similar to the copyright-protected photos that were published on his website.

Leach has refrained from filing a lawsuit against Pranjkovic or the Croatian central bank. He did, however, expressed his feeling by saying that while he had no objection with someone using his photographs, no one approached him to ask for permission.

Pranjkovic, on the other hand, chose to withdraw from the competition and return the prize money after the reactions on social media accusing him of plagiarism came to light.

Innovators and designers frequently draw inspiration from online sources to create their own work, but they often overlook the copyright that comes with it. Dealing with IP theft is both expensive and time-consuming. 

PitchMark helps innovators deter idea theft, so that clients get the idea but don’t take it. Visit PitchMark.net and register for free as a PitchMark member today.

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Mark Laudi

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