Binghamton University is weighing its legal options against Courage-Gaming, a Russian gaming group that stole and edited the BU Bearcat logo, presenting it as their own.
The gaming group took the image of Baxter, which is property of the University, and re-colored it orange. The fact that the image is the same except for the color gives the University grounds to make a copyright infringement claim against Courage-Gaming.
“We are evaluating our enforcement options domestically and internationally, primarily for a copyright infringement claim. We haven’t formulated our steps yet, but we will do so in the next few weeks,” wrote Greg Delviscio, associate vice president for communications and marketing for BU, in an email.
The Strategic Marketing Affiliates (SMA), which provides licensing representation and counsel to academic institutions and conferences, is currently looking into this breach, according to Delviscio.
“The logo is a federally registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” Delviscio wrote. “Whenever we see an infringement on it, we take all steps that are necessary to correct it.”
Courage-Gaming project manager Leonid Kubyshkin responded to accusations that the logo was stolen.
“I know this problem. The logo was made to order. And we became a victim of fraud. We are waiting for a new logo. I would like to express my apologies to you,” Kubyshkin wrote in an e-mail.
Kubyshkin said that the group was unaware of the theft when he commissioned the logo.
“We didn’t choose your logo. We need a logo. Asked one of the designers but alas we did not know that he copied you,” Kubyshkin wrote.
Reddit user TunerAddict, a 2011 BU graduate with a degree in philosophy, politics and law, first discovered the fraudulent orange Baxter and posted the two logos side by side. The post made it to the front page of the r/DotA2 subreddit and received 1,355 upvotes.
“I had to double take when I saw the logo,” TunerAddict wrote in a private message via Reddit. “I just thought it was pretty humorous so I wanted to share it with the Reddit community.”
According to their website, Courage-Gaming is a Russian e-sports group created in the summer of 2013. The group plays competitive video games such as “Dota 2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” against other teams in tournaments.
The stolen logo was added to the the Courage-Gaming website on Oct. 21, 2013, but was replaced with an image that says “logo coming soon” on Jan. 26.
The Bearcat, which was unveiled in 1999, is property of BU, according to Delviscio.
“The University logo is not to be used without the written permission from the University,” Delviscio wrote. “We routinely search the web for any misuse of our logo and follow up with all appropriate measures.”
Ramel Mc Intosh, a sophomore majoring in psychology, consents with the University’s plans to look into a copyright infringement.
“I think Binghamton is perfectly within their right to look into it,” Mc Intosh said. “It’s thievery. I support the University in their decision. It’s disrespectful to our campus and our school pride. I think they deserve to be reprimanded for it.”
Delviscio said that this situation is not something to be taken lightly.
“The logo is the most visible element in the Binghamton University identity system,” Delviscio wrote. “While it is easily adapted for a wide range of media it should never be recreated, altered or distorted in any way.”