Case of the disappearing Pantone colours

We’ve (well, my work has) recently been issued a takedown notice by Pantone, insisting that we remove a page of hex codes labelled with numbers that correspond to the Pantone Matching System. The page was very well patronised, even though it wasn’t very accurate and did not claim any ‘official’ status. Not wanting a fuss, the page was taken down.

Not surprisingly, a lot of people are annoyed – it was no.1 in google for ‘pantone colour chart‘. In fact, I’m annoyed! I can appreciate Pantone’s right to prevent us using their name and they probably have the right to the way a range of colours are assigned to particular numbers, but no way have they got the right to stop me publishing my own colour chart or to publish that a particular colour is, in my opinion, similar to one of their numbered colours.

Anyway, I got curious, so I checked other listings in Google and found that many had also been instructed to remove their pages: 1 2 3 though other solutions survive: A B C D E F (many more) and no-one seems about to take down partial pages of pantone conversions such as are commonly used in Coporate Style Guidelines.

Anyway, the thing that really ticks me off is this wierd phone call we received in our office a couple of months ago – no doubt related to the takedown notice we later received.

Here’s an excellent newsforge article exploring the credibility of Pantone’s claims of copyright.

Over at wikimedia they are building a creative commons pantone approximation chart that has so far survived a take down notice.

More information at Wikipedia. Pantone’s Terms of Use