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  #1  
Old 05-24-2001, 08:17 PM
BC BC is offline
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Spoofing/parody vs. trademarked images....


Hi everyone,

Recently, just for the heck of it I decided to base my personal site partly on parodying my previous association with Geocities - basically making fun of them as well as Yahoo!*.

Now, what this involves is basically using one of the slightly older Geocities images as part of my logo/title/banner/whatever. However, there is a difference in my version of the image as opposed to Geocities' image (that is, there's a number of artistic differences between the two images).

What I'm concerned about is, I'm 90% sure Geocities trademarked the original image (I'm not totally sure and I need to check it - where can I check trademarked images again? ), so would I be technically breaking the law if I used a 'similar version' of the Geocities image as part of my site?

Note that my site is purely personal and will be nothing more than a spoof or parody and I have no intention of earning any profit from the site either, but I figured that I was better off being safe than sorry by asking first.

Any opinions appreciated. Thanks in advance.

P.S. If anyone wants to see the two images I'd be happy to upload them here.......


* - disclosure : I'm a YHOO shareholder

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  #2  
Old 05-24-2001, 08:47 PM
BRossMac BRossMac is offline
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Hmmmm?

I have no legal experience or knowledge, but I'll chime in anyway....

If it's a personal site you probably shouldn't have too much problem, unless it starts attracting visitors and getting noticed....

While satire and parody are in many ways protected, I think if it came down to legal action somebody might try to show that what you were doing didn't fit into that category.

At this point if it's a personal site I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. Even if they raised a fuss, they would probably send you a threatening cease and desist letter before doing anything that could seriously damage you personally....

Brad

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  #3  
Old 05-24-2001, 09:17 PM
CJB CJB is offline
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Re: Spoofing/parody vs. trademarked images....

Quote:
Originally posted by BC
I'm not totally sure and I need to check it - where can I check trademarked images again?
http://tess.uspto.gov/

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  #4  
Old 05-24-2001, 09:34 PM
BC BC is offline
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Thanks CJB - that confirmed it. The image is indeed trademarked.

Brad, yeah, that's the lines I'm thinking along too, but I'd prefer to avoid any trouble in the first place in case any complications take place in the future.... Thanks.


<<Edit : oh yeah, anyone else who has something valuable to offer, please do - thanks.>>

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Have a think about this : Programming is like sex. Make a single little mistake, and you'll be supporting it for the rest of your life.


Last edited by BC; 05-25-2001 at 06:11 AM.
  #5  
Old 05-27-2001, 01:29 PM
Chicken Chicken is offline
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It might help if you posted the two images but regardless, I'd suggest to make the image from scratch, make it similar, etc. Parody sites shouldn't have a problem.

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  #6  
Old 06-05-2001, 03:08 PM
Phoenix Phoenix is offline
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Quote:
Parody sites shouldn't have a problem.
Parodies are protected under acceptable use laws, however, the companies who are parodied tend to object to this sort of thing and they may have their legal department send you a nasty note full of heavyhanded threats, and try to get you to take it down. Just know your rights and don't let them scare you.

This happened on the dotcom deathpool site/message board. They were having a new logo contest and one of the wacky particpants on the board came up with one that was a parody of the idealab! splash screen, replacing their display of portfolio companies with names/logos of dotcoms that had gone belly up (okay, more than a few were their portfolio companies that had gone belly up).

This was never used on the deathpool site, it was just one of a number of parody logos created by individuals for the contest that were uploaded to another individual's web site for voting. However, within 48 hours, idealab!'s legal department sent very threatening emails to the site's owner, with all sorts of accusations and threats.

Pud didn't use the logo-he's been using a parody of Business 2.0's logo instead. But this company clearly had no intention of respecting the laws of copyright or freedom of speech. Lawyers do not have a sense of humor.

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Old 06-05-2001, 10:58 PM
iBusinessLawyer iBusinessLawyer is offline
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2001, 11:26 PM
Get-Hosted.com Get-Hosted.com is offline
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lol

  #9  
Old 06-06-2001, 08:53 AM
BC BC is offline
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LOL! Hi Jonathan, long time no see

Anything you can add to what has already been noted above?

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My 2 Cents.... (or is that 2.2 cents inc. GST...?)

Have a think about this : Programming is like sex. Make a single little mistake, and you'll be supporting it for the rest of your life.

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