I started this thread earlier in another section but felt it might be better suited for here. Allow me to lay the groundwork to describe my situation:
I am going to open a Tennessee Titans fan site called "goTitans.com". I will basically treat it like a magazine in that it will have news, features, etc. I know espn and other sports magazine-type sites do use NFL logos under "fair use" so there is no infringement issues. But is this the case with a fan site? If not, why isn't it?
Second, most fan sites do use the team's logo. I've heard it's acceptable if you don't sell advertising space. Many do it anyway. Is there anything short of a team of lawyers to find out such things? Clearly, espn.com sells advertising when it reports a story on the Titans and uses a Titans' logo.
I'm just hoping to avoid problems in the future. Thanks for any help in advance.
I don't think it will be an issue. Every site on the net charges for advertising. If you're really in doubt, contact The titans team somehow and ask them if it is ok.
Stop worrying, man. You're okay - as long as you aren't using a copyrighted name or photos, there is nothing to worry about.
just say somewhere that other logos belongs to bla bla. And you can say unofficial fan site. It helps.
Hey 12thman!!! :)
I'm happy that you're doing something still in the field of sports promotions. I was kinka hopin' that you were making your other site into a multi-million dollar business jus to dis that idiot who pretended to be a business man!
Any ways, in regards to your question - I always think it's good to look out for problems BEFORE they occur.
"Fair Use" is a defense in _copyrights_. Your question is regarding trademarks (same attorney, different law). Unfortunately, yes the NFL (and many sports teams) maintain investigators whose sole jobs are to scour media for misuse of their trademarks. Usually they wont bother you unless you're too big, but just be aware of the possibility.
In regards to an earlier comment, no, just becase the logos aren't covered by copyright doesn't mean there's no problem. Try placing a Playboy bunny head logo on your web site and see how long it takes PEI (Playboy Enternatinment Inc.) to shut you down! (It'll make your head spin!)
Problem is with trademark (and copyright) infringement is that there's too many consequences: statutory damages, fines, legal fees BUT, most easily would be for the trademark owner to simply call your ISP and shut down the account, something your ISP will be required to do unless you were to immediatly comply with a request to take down the infringing items.
All law is simply a continuum from "dead WRON" to "legal" it's not just either "legal" or "illegal." Using the tradmarks (with clear disclaimers) is _probably_ towards the "legal" end. Selling advertising is a little closer to "illegal." Selling trademarked items (i.e. ball caps) would clearly be on the illegal side.
After all that, sorry, no advice (not a legal opinion...blah...blah) - but it usually ain't worth the money to drag someone in court when a nasty letter from their atty. would do - tell then....
Many products use site logos, as long as you say somewhere in your site, the logo is property of you will be ok. I dought that they will even attempt to sue a fan site.
If any issues come up, just take the banners down or whatever is infringing and you should be fine :)
I don't think the advertising is at issue, here; but the use of material that is copyrighted or of registered trademarks may be another matter.
If it were me, I believe I'd shoot a letter off to the business manager's office at the Titans, and ask them specifically what policy is on use.