Intellectual Property and Image Rights!
Many words, phrases, quotes, song titles, song lyrics, movie titles, and the like, can not be used as they are protected in one way or another.
Trademark infringement - in laymen's terms - is basically when someone uses your trademark, or one similar to it, so as to create confusion as to his association with the trademark owner or product/service which the trademark represents. This can include lines of dilution which blurs or tarnishes the owners mark.
The number of protected names and phrases is too long to list but here are a few areas to keep in mind. Avoid these areas and other similar areas in your designs. If in doubt, leave it out!
1. Brands/Images/Marks - These include ones like A.A. Alcoholics Anonymous for instance. See A.A.Link. [Link]. Forum AA/NA discussion:[Link] Here is a link that discusses Generic names like Crock Pot [Link]. Others (examples):
- Airstream Trailers - They own a trademark on spherical silver travel trailers. Don't make a look alike in your artwork! [Link]
- "Alice in Wonderland" is under protection by Disney. See: [Link1][Link2]. However we will allow the phrase "Alice's Adventure in Wonderland" which is the name of the novel. You should likely combine with other related terms like: Alice, fantasy world, fable, Lewis Carroll, etc.
- Art Explosion, like most clip art companies, does not allow the use of their images commercially. Please see [Link].
- “Bird Sings” is trademarked to a greeting card company so is not allowed in Title nor on a card. Used as separate terms in keywords separated by commas and in a sentence is OK such as "When the bird sings I think of you."
- Boy Scouts of America (logo, mottos, insignia, patches, emblems, badges, laws & marks). See [Link]
- Brussels Atomium. See [Link]
- Canadian Flag is trademark protected. See [Link]
- Chrysler Building is trademarked and images of it cannot be used commercially.
- Emily Dickinson - The President and Fellows of Harvard College claim the sole ownership of and sole literary rights and copyrights therein to the texts of Emily Dickinson.
- Eiffel Tower image – night time light display photos not allowed except where the tower is incidental (in panoramic view.)
- Fender Musical Instruments - Guitar, Trade Dress - distinctive headstock & body shapes and distinctive elements. See [Link]
- FIFA – World Cup Soccer - See [Link]
- Frankenstein Copyright - Please note although you may use the term "Frankenstein" and "Monster of Frankenstein," Universal Studios holds the copyright to the signature Frankenstein image which is characterized by ALL 5 of these elements: 1. Green Skin 2. Flat Top Head 3. Scar on Forehead 4. Bolts on the Neck 5. Protruding Forehead. If you'd like to resubmit this image you will need to edit your character to deviate from ANY 1 of these 5 specifications.
- Frosty - " Frosty" as a proper name in conjunction with a snowman as well as “Frosty the Snowman”. However can be used as a descriptive term describing the image when appropriate ie: “frosty, chilly, winter …” etc.
- Girl Scouts (logo, mottos, insignia, patches, emblems, badges, laws & marks). See [Link]
- Godzilla - Do not use likeness or images. [Link]
- Guggenheim - Check usage here: [Link]
- Hershey Kisses
- Hollywood Sign - If you are an amateur photobug or videographer shooting only for your own personal use, then there is no need to seek permission before aiming your lens at the Sign. But if the images or footage you are taking are intended for any sort of commercial purpose, then permission is required. See [Link]
- Hormel Foods, LLC – SPAM
- I [Heart] NY - I [Heart] anything else (NC, for example) may be trademarked by that state's economic development dept.
- Just Born, Peeps - See [Link]
- Louvre specifically the glass pyramid in the inner court of the Paris Louvre. See [Link] and [Link]
- Marines - Forum Discussion: [Link]
- Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) - Located in Arlington, VA. Unacceptable for commercial use. See [Link]
- N.A. - Narcotics Anonymous
- NYC Marathon - NYC is a trademark and service mark of the City of New York See [Link] and [Link]
- Mark Twain quotes are copyright protected and cannot be used commercially. See [Link]
- Olympic Rings
- Olympic Games - Like all of the Olympic Games there are many associated names, marks, works, designs, logos & mascots that are tightly controlled and define their “brand”. As a group these are referred to as “Protected Games’ Marks” and are legally protected marks that cannot be used by unauthorized parties. See [Link] and [Link]
- "Phil" or "Punxsutawney Phil” when associated with the image of a groundhog is protected under trademark laws. Please do not use these terms on cards or in keywords. See [Link]
- Picasso is Trademarked. Check usage [Link]
- Play doh (Hasbro) as well as any spelling variation play dough: See [Link]
- “Rudolf” when associated with the image of a red nosed reindeer, images alone ok. Under trademark laws, anyone who uses the name Rudolph with an image of a reindeer-like animal with a bright, red nose without permission is potentially violating terms of a trademark.
- Scrabble - “Scrabble” is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc., and images of the signature look of the game board and game pieces/tiles (square tiles w/ letters and numbers).
- Seattle Space Needle - Trademarked and images cannot be used commercially UNLESS used as an "inconsequential or incidental element of the design."
- Stonehenge - The term is Trademarked [Link]
- Sydney Opera House - Images of the Sydney Opera house where the SOH is the dominant/primary focus of the creative. See [Link]
- Tiffany Blue - the color is not to be used. Also do not use that term in your text or keywords. [Link]
- Toronto Canada’s signature needle CN Tower - Trademarked and images cannot be used commercially UNLESS used as an "inconsequential or incidental element of the design." Located in Toronto, Canada. Owned by the Canada Lands Company. Cityscapes will be considered, as long as the Tower is not the primary subject of the image. These images will be evaluated on a case by case basis. [Link]
- United States Postage Stamps – post 1978 not allowed
- USA Military Service Badges - United States insignia of the military service are not allowed to be used in royalty-free stock images. This includes agency insignia, military decorations, golden eagles and presidential seals. Other unit insignia in the form of patches, flags, metal insignia, or other heraldric devices are also protected. See [Link]
- Who’s Your Daddy - Trademark of Who’s Ya Daddy, Inc.
- Wizard of Oz - is under protection of Warner Brothers. This is a MUST READ if you are even considering artwork, verses, or even keywords that relate to the movie or the the book "The Wonderful World of Oz."
- World Cup 2014 - restricted, see here for logos and terms [Link]
- “Autism Speaks”
- “Double your Pleasure, Double your Fun” - See [Link]
- "Got Milk?" is a registered trademark of the California Fluid Milk Processor Advisory Board, STATE AGENCY CALIFORNIA, 1801A Fourth St., Berkeley CALIFORNIA 94710. To be safe GCU will return all designs that play off of the Got Milk? mark.
- “Guitar Hero” - See [Link]
- “Happy Name Day”
- “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”. (LifeAlert) We will also not allow any parody of such phrase.
- “Hula Hoop” by Wham-O
- “The Other White Meat” – National Pork Board
- ”Pink Warrior”
- "Raggedy Ann" & "Raggedy Andy" - names not allowed, images are ok
- "Sweethearts" - use of the term "Sweethearts" in relation to conversation heart candies (images of the candies are ok). Registered trademark of NECCOs.
3. Figurines/Collectibles/Toys (examples)
- Beanie Babies – Ty, Inc.
- Berenstain bears
- Care Bears – American Greetings
- Precious Moments characters
4. Song lyrics (examples)
- “Follow Your Bliss” - Joseph Campbell Foundation protected trademark. See: [Link]
- God Bless America - Lyrics cannot be used; they are under copyright. See: [Link]
- Happy Birthday Song - See [Link]
6. Bible/Scripture - Use the King James version as it is in the public domain.
- All others will require you to provide proof of your rights to use the text on commercial items.