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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot csmarshal's Avatar
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    Copyright on Logos

    Hello!
    Lately i've started blogging again on various things, and the question that came to my mind is what Logos i can use under what conditions?!
    For example, i recently posted something about Windows 7 and would love to add the Windows 7 logo in the post to it all gets some color, but im not quite sure if im allowed to just do that. On other matters i always looked for press kits and used the graphics provided in there, but what if there isnt one available?

    Thanks for you answers!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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    There is no clear answer on what is allowable, and it will vary by the country involved. If you are using a logo in a way that does not imply an endorsement by the owner, and promoting their product or placing them in a favorable light it is probably ok.

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Logos cannot be copyrighted, they are trademarks. Most established businesses, such as Adobe, Microsoft, etc define terms of use of their trademarked images on their sites. You will need to consult each site to see what is allowed and what isn't. On the other hand, if you are advertising a product as a partner, it is generally okay to use the business's logo. However, to be sure, I would check with the terms on the site and if you can't find anything there, you will need to contact the business to get their okay.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Logos are protected by copyright too. They are original creative works fixed in tangible form. You're only more likely to be sued for using someone's logo under trademark because:

    1) Trademarks must be enforced to retain rights to the mark, while copyright does not have to be enforced
    2) The damages can be easier to prove and worth more

  5. #5
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    Logos are protected by copyright too. They are original creative works fixed in tangible form. You're only more likely to be sued for using someone's logo under trademark because:

    1) Trademarks must be enforced to retain rights to the mark, while copyright does not have to be enforced
    2) The damages can be easier to prove and worth more

    From the US Copyright Office:

    How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
    Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  6. #6
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    What you quoted is in agreement with what I wrote, so I'm not sure whether you quoted it to agree or not. If the logo meets the "original creative" work test ("sufficient authorship" as that FAQ puts it), then it is protected by copyright like any other work. They're merely pointing out that you can have a logo that's too simple, such as only text in an indistinct font, which is not original or creative enough to be copyrightable.

    If you hired an artist to create a painting for you, that painting would clearly be protected by copyright. If you chose to use that painting as your company logo, it does not lose its protection by becoming a logo. The copyright act has no exclusionary text which puts logos in any separate category.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast pudding's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

    Generally you're not going to get in too deep for posting a logo, just about every website on the internet does it. In most cases the most you'll get is a note requesting its removal - unless you're stating THEY endorse YOU in some way. But if you're REALLY concerned about it, shoot them an email and ask.

  8. #8
    Serial Entrepreneur
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    I was on the Microsoft site yesterday looking for just this type of info (about .NET), so you'll want to check out pages starting here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal...s/default.mspx
    FreelanceLocalTech - FREE Freelance Consultant Directory!
    VersaReports Universal Report Server for .Net - Try It Now!

  9. #9
    Headed Home! KM Richards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pudding View Post
    In most cases the most you'll get is a note requesting its removal
    Yesssir, if someone were to try and take you to court over something like
    this, the court is going to want to know if they contacted you to request
    you quit using their whatever before taking up the court's time.

    If they did not, it will greatly reduce the willingness of the court to be
    tough on you. Simply asking that it be stopped is the first common sense
    step to resolving something like this.

    On the other hand, there's very little common sense these days so good luck!

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KM Richards View Post
    Yesssir, if someone were to try and take you to court over something like
    this, the court is going to want to know if they contacted you to request
    you quit using their whatever before taking up the court's time.

    If they did not, it will greatly reduce the willingness of the court to be
    tough on you. Simply asking that it be stopped is the first common sense
    step to resolving something like this.

    On the other hand, there's very little common sense these days so good luck!

    Are you a lawyer or a judge?

    I am not a lawyer or a judge, but I do believe that if someone takes you to court for either trademark or copyright infringement, the judge isn't going to ask them if they contacted you and asked you to quit infringing their rights. The judge will ask YOU to provide proof that you requested and received the appropriate permissions to use their intellectual property.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    It won't come out like that, but it's something the prosecutor would share... to prove that you knowingly infringed, which allows for higher damage claims than unknowingly infringing.


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