[Clipart] Logos and Names
eady at galion.lib.oh.us
Fri Aug 26 11:27:21 PDT 2011
Rob Fenwitch <rob.fenwitch at googlemail.com> writes:
> I note that logos and trademarks are prohibited but what if I were to,
> say, draw the front panel of a Cisco switch. Is the graphic in that
> case a logo or part of the appearance of the object?
> Or I might draw a tin of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup.....
Warhol didn't try to release his artwork into the public domain, so he
was able to do some things as fair use that we can't necessarily do in a
public-domain clip-art collection. Artwork along the lines of what
Warhol did is in fact one of the key things the fair-use doctrine
allows. (Parody, educational use, and social commentary are the other
major ones.) Copyright law _allows_ such uses, but fair use does NOT
invalidate or subsume the copyright on the original work. That still
applies, and anybody who wants to do anything else with the work still
needs the original copyright holder's permission (unless what they're
doing qualifies as fair use).
So in a work of art you can generally depict an object with a logo on
it, and you're okay, but there IS still a copyright, and you can't just
take that work with the logo in it and release it into the public domain
and allow anyone to re-use it or any part of it (including the logo) for
any purpose, because the copyright on the logo still belongs to whoever
held its copyright in the first place. Just because you're allowed to
draw the logo on the product in your still-life picture or whatever does
NOT mean you can allow somebody else to take your drawing of the logo
and do anything they want with it. You cannot, because you do not hold
the copyright on the logo.
If the logo is trademarked (which it usually is), there are additional
wrinkles pertaining to that. Trademark law is, compared to copyright,
fairly specific about what it prohibits. Causing confusion about the
trademark owner's brand or promoting a competing product will land you
in hot water, but you can get away with a lot of other stuff. You can
take a McDonald's logo and put it on your tourist map to represent the
location where there's a McDonald's, for example, but if you put the
McDonald's logo on your tourist map to represent the location of your
cousin's non-McDonald's restaurant, ruthless corporate lawyers will come
after you with fiery injunctions and sharp spikey punitive damages and
make you wish you could escape to a nice peaceful lawyer-free gulag in
northeastern Siberia. Obviously we can't put such things in a "you can
use it for any purpose without attribution" collection.
> Basically do I have to mangle the art to make it acceptable ?
In most cases you can just leave the logo off the object in the version
that you upload to the library.
Galion Public Library
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