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View Full Version : Interesting Legal Issue - Trademarked College Logo + My Photo


ZachKC
03-10-2010, 11:55 AM
So, it has come to my attention that a very large university has used a photo I took without permission in their arena.

I can easily show ownership of the photo. Know how it was nabbed and know it was marked as having all its rights reserved on Flickr.

It is a pretty open and shut deal, the only thing causes me to wonder is how crazy colleges are about their logo. The idea that "we have reserved rights to anything with our trademark."

Their trademark being in it keeps me from selling it for profit without their consent (which it wasn't it was just shown) but I would think that doesn't have anything to do with extending rights to THEIR usage of the photo.

The photo is of a flag. I haven't determined if it is actually an official version of their logo.

Anyone have thoughts? Or something I could be missing? It seems open and shut. I am pretty knowledgeable in photography law but have never dealt with a lot of trademark stuff in this form.

*WARHORSE*
03-10-2010, 12:41 PM
So, it has come to my attention that a very large university has used a photo I took without permission in their arena.

I can easily show ownership of the photo. Know how it was nabbed and know it was marked as having all its rights reserved on Flickr.

It is a pretty open and shut deal, the only thing causes me to wonder is how crazy colleges are about their logo. The idea that "we have reserved rights to anything with our trademark."

Their trademark being in it keeps me from selling it for profit without their consent (which it wasn't it was just shown) but I would think that doesn't have anything to do with extending rights to THEIR usage of the photo.

The photo is of a flag. I haven't determined if it is actually an official version of their logo.

Anyone have thoughts? Or something I could be missing? It seems open and shut. I am pretty knowledgeable in photography law but have never dealt with a lot of trademark stuff in this form.


Yeah, wait for it to become bigger.....then sue.:yayaya:

Sodak
03-10-2010, 01:04 PM
You should join the national PPA, and quit goofing around. They will help.

Tombstone RJ
03-10-2010, 01:10 PM
Not sure what to tell you on this... I'd contact the university first and then go from there. If your just looking to score some money good luck with that. However, if you just want credit for your work, then I'm sure they'd be willing to work with you and put your name on the photo, but I'm totally guessing on this...

Conklin
03-10-2010, 01:38 PM
how about you shows us this photo? so we can comment on the entire agenda?

broncosteven
03-10-2010, 01:40 PM
So, it has come to my attention that a very large university has used a photo I took without permission in their arena.

I can easily show ownership of the photo. Know how it was nabbed and know it was marked as having all its rights reserved on Flickr.

It is a pretty open and shut deal, the only thing causes me to wonder is how crazy colleges are about their logo. The idea that "we have reserved rights to anything with our trademark."

Their trademark being in it keeps me from selling it for profit without their consent (which it wasn't it was just shown) but I would think that doesn't have anything to do with extending rights to THEIR usage of the photo.

The photo is of a flag. I haven't determined if it is actually an official version of their logo.

Anyone have thoughts? Or something I could be missing? It seems open and shut. I am pretty knowledgeable in photography law but have never dealt with a lot of trademark stuff in this form.

Do you have to copyright your photos like you do with music and books?

Does the University have a policy of no photos allowed in the stadium? If so and you took it with out their permission then I think they can use it if they want.

I would at least contact the great InteRnEts Copyright Lawyer named Google or maybe a real copyright lawyer.

Good luck.

oubronco
03-10-2010, 01:41 PM
Wtf?

Bronco Boy
03-10-2010, 01:46 PM
wow this thread went downhill quickly.

DomCasual
03-10-2010, 01:48 PM
Do you guys think Elvis Dumervil will be a Pro Bowl Defensive End this year? I kind of think the JJ Arington signing is going to cut into his playing time.

Cool Breeze
03-10-2010, 01:51 PM
http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/deadspin/2009/09/J3gYApfUsaQ.jpg

Thats an old pic dude...

SureShot
03-10-2010, 01:51 PM
I didnt see a Missouri logo in any of those photos.

TheElusiveKyleOrton
03-10-2010, 01:55 PM
Fat cow is playing with himself.

http://www.yardbarker.com/media/0/0/00d13ad09f9eff2cc3f1c5fe715467c78054d263/xl/grabbybradyquinn.jpg

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 02:00 PM
Hmmmm. This is an interesting one.

You have the copyright on the photo. No doubt about that. If it was in a public location I would say they can't claim any rights to the photo (even though it's of their logo) since the photo and the logo are two entirely different intellectual properties.

If it was on their private property and they had a strict photography policy then that's the only issue I could possibly see. They would probably have to have a very clearly written policy that any photos taken in that particular area are automatically their intellectual property. But if it's a place where reporters may go to cover a game (or something like that) I think they would **** a brick if the school claimed copyright over the photos they take. So I doubt they have a policy like that but it would be worth checking out. Otherwise they have no more right to use your photo than you do to start a business with their logo.

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 02:05 PM
Do you have to copyright your photos like you do with music and books?

Does the University have a policy of no photos allowed in the stadium? If so and you took it with out their permission then I think they can use it if they want.

I would at least contact the great InteRnEts Copyright Lawyer named Google or maybe a real copyright lawyer.

Good luck.

Kind of a misunderstanding there. Copywriting is more of a state of being than an action. The act of creating an intellectual property is automatic copyrighting. As soon as it's in a solid (or audible as may be the case of music) form then it's copy written. You simply need to be able to prove that it's your idea and you had it first. Which is why you might see somebody about getting it stamped (can't remember the proper legal term). The stamp itself is not the copy write.

broncosteven
03-10-2010, 03:59 PM
Zack - I need some rep to make up for the Neg Rep some A-hole Bronco CB40 left me for helping(? not sure I actually helped more than ask more questions) you.

What a douche.

TheElusiveKyleOrton
03-10-2010, 04:03 PM
Zack - I need some rep to make up for the Neg Rep some A-hole Bronco CB40 left me for helping(? not sure I actually helped more than ask more questions) you.

What a douche.

hahaha, he's now sent me three PMs telling me to stop "siding with" Zach KC because he wants to break his face or something.

Guess he started drinking a little early.

Tombstone RJ
03-10-2010, 04:09 PM
hahaha, he's now sent me three PMs telling me to stop "siding with" Zach KC because he wants to break his face or something.

Guess he started drinking a little early.

Wow, he neg repped me too, and I quote: Zach is a Queef fan douche and any Bronco fan that helps him is my enemy.

Hmmm... sounds like someone needs a reality check... :rofl:

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 04:16 PM
I got the same response.

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 04:17 PM
Do you have to copyright your photos like you do with music and books?

Does the University have a policy of no photos allowed in the stadium? If so and you took it with out their permission then I think they can use it if they want.

I would at least contact the great InteRnEts Copyright Lawyer named Google or maybe a real copyright lawyer.

Good luck.

I do have all right reserved on the photo. I am the owner of it.

The photo was not taken in the stadium. It is a photo of a flag at a tailgate outside. It is being displayed in the stadium it is with other photos literally built into the wall. lol

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 04:19 PM
Hmmmm. This is an interesting one.

You have the copyright on the photo. No doubt about that. If it was in a public location I would say they can't claim any rights to the photo (even though it's of their logo) since the photo and the logo are two entirely different intellectual properties.

If it was on their private property and they had a strict photography policy then that's the only issue I could possibly see. They would probably have to have a very clearly written policy that any photos taken in that particular area are automatically their intellectual property. But if it's a place where reporters may go to cover a game (or something like that) I think they would **** a brick if the school claimed copyright over the photos they take. So I doubt they have a policy like that but it would be worth checking out. Otherwise they have no more right to use your photo than you do to start a business with their logo.

Yea, I was pretty sure I had the right thinking but I like throwing stuff out to a diverse group of people.

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 04:20 PM
hahaha, he's now sent me three PMs telling me to stop "siding with" Zach KC because he wants to break his face or something.

Guess he started drinking a little early.

Wow, he neg repped me too, and I quote: Zach is a Queef fan douche and any Bronco fan that helps him is my enemy.

Hmmm... sounds like someone needs a reality check... :rofl:

He has a long history on this board of literally stalking me.

I am not throwing Chiefs\Broncos smack. The guy is sick and he needs help.

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 04:20 PM
I do have all right reserved on the photo. I am the owner of it.

The photo was not taken in the stadium. It is a photo of a flag at a tailgate outside. It is being displayed in the stadium it is with other photos literally built into the wall. lol

If you wanted to take it to them I'm guessing you'd have a pretty good case.

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 04:22 PM
I don't really wanna make it a contentious thing. I am going to drop a line to the PR department of the University. There are a lot of levers that could be pulled to make me feel ok with this and make it a positive for my business without demanding a **** ton of money or making it a big deal. Hopefully we can get it worked out.

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 04:22 PM
Second Response:

Bronco CB40 Go **** yourself Queef fan lover!!! I will buy you a KC hat, you sellout.

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 04:23 PM
Bronco CB40 Queef lover

Sixth, seventh, and eighth response from three separate threads.

I think I officially have a stalker.

Sodak
03-10-2010, 04:26 PM
Zack - I need some rep to make up for the Neg Rep some A-hole Bronco CB40 left me for helping(? not sure I actually helped more than ask more questions) you.

What a douche.

I got the same treatment from him. Neg rep. for some solid advice to a fellow man. I might deserve a neg rep if I were helping a Raider fan, but this is different.

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 04:29 PM
Bronco CB40

Sixth, seventh, and eighth response from three separate threads.

I think I officially have a stalker.

No, you are just someone that talked to me and that is how he is treating you. Imagine if you were the actual subject of his pathetic obsession.

Kid A
03-10-2010, 05:47 PM
So, it has come to my attention that a very large university has used a photo I took without permission in their arena.

I can easily show ownership of the photo. Know how it was nabbed and know it was marked as having all its rights reserved on Flickr.

It is a pretty open and shut deal, the only thing causes me to wonder is how crazy colleges are about their logo. The idea that "we have reserved rights to anything with our trademark."

Their trademark being in it keeps me from selling it for profit without their consent (which it wasn't it was just shown) but I would think that doesn't have anything to do with extending rights to THEIR usage of the photo.

The photo is of a flag. I haven't determined if it is actually an official version of their logo.

Anyone have thoughts? Or something I could be missing? It seems open and shut. I am pretty knowledgeable in photography law but have never dealt with a lot of trademark stuff in this form.

Vaguely similar thing happened at the small college I attended:

A professor was traveling on the other side of the country and noticed a business card where the logo was clearly a photograph of the clock tower on campus. Turns out a student had taken a picture of the tower and sold it on a stock website.

Don't remember all the legal details, but I do seem to recall the university having the upper hand on everyone because they had exclusive rights to distinctive marks associated with the college, including buildings. So that would lead me to believe a large college would definitely have the upper hand when dealing with their logo mark.

Still, I would contact the university. If you weren't selling the image I don't think they have any case against you, but them not contacting or crediting you probably means they are in the wrong.

Tombstone RJ
03-10-2010, 05:56 PM
Uh-oh, been neg repped again by CB40:

"You need to learn the code of the board. Zach is a troll and you don't do the respectable Broncos fans that he abuses any favors when you respond to him. You are disgrace to the great Rich 'Tombstone' Jackson."

Can someone tell me what the hell the "code of the board" is? Please help. Someone, anyone... what's the code....

Cool Breeze
03-10-2010, 06:13 PM
Morse
DaVinci
Game
Secret
Zip
?

RhymesayersDU
03-10-2010, 06:14 PM
I like Zach. He's a nice guy.


/waits for that douche's head to implode.

Lev Vyvanse
03-10-2010, 06:23 PM
I like Zach. He's a nice guy.


/waits for that douche's head to implode.

I like that Rhymesayers likes Zach.

Lev Vyvanse
03-10-2010, 06:28 PM
That was quick. Already got a neg rep.

ZachKC
03-10-2010, 06:29 PM
Vaguely similar thing happened at the small college I attended:

A professor was traveling on the other side of the country and noticed a business card where the logo was clearly a photograph of the clock tower on campus. Turns out a student had taken a picture of the tower and sold it on a stock website.

Don't remember all the legal details, but I do seem to recall the university having the upper hand on everyone because they had exclusive rights to distinctive marks associated with the college, including buildings. So that would lead me to believe a large college would definitely have the upper hand when dealing with their logo mark.

Still, I would contact the university. If you weren't selling the image I don't think they have any case against you, but them not contacting or crediting you probably means they are in the wrong.
Yes and...I totally agree with that situation. I knew when I took this photo that I did have the right to sell it for profit without their permission. I do have the right to show it as a shot I took.

However I am thinking that doesn't extend the right for them to use the photo without permission.

And it seem the flag is a variation of the logo not under the umbrella of their control. That I am not certain about though.

RhymesayersDU
03-10-2010, 06:32 PM
That was quick. Already got a neg rep.

hah, as did I.

Cool Breeze
03-10-2010, 06:35 PM
Morse
DaVinci
Game
Secret
Zip
?

For this, I got this note -

Go **** yourself Queef fan lover!!! I will buy you a KC hat, you sellout. By the way, I am gay - would you like to go out with me?

What a FAG!:kiss:

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 06:39 PM
Vaguely similar thing happened at the small college I attended:

A professor was traveling on the other side of the country and noticed a business card where the logo was clearly a photograph of the clock tower on campus. Turns out a student had taken a picture of the tower and sold it on a stock website.

Don't remember all the legal details, but I do seem to recall the university having the upper hand on everyone because they had exclusive rights to distinctive marks associated with the college, including buildings. So that would lead me to believe a large college would definitely have the upper hand when dealing with their logo mark.

Still, I would contact the university. If you weren't selling the image I don't think they have any case against you, but them not contacting or crediting you probably means they are in the wrong.

A very slightly different situation and that makes all the difference. They had exclusive rights to the buildings and logo yes but not a photo somebody else takes. They won because somebody was using imagery they had the rights to. But they didn't have the rights to the photo that the person used. However that is irrelevant as the only issue they had was that their property was being infringed upon. They didn't care if the owner of the photo had consented or not. The guy could have taken the photo himself and it wouldn't have mattered. Of course that doesn't mean Zach can go selling the image to anybody for any use. There are two separate intellectual properties here and for the photo to be used/sold both respective holders of the rights have to approve.

Lev Vyvanse
03-10-2010, 06:39 PM
For this, I got this note -

Go **** yourself Queef fan lover!!! I will buy you a KC hat, you sellout. By the way, I am gay - would you like to go out with me?

What a FAG!:kiss:


He put that exact phrase into my neg rep.

snowspot66
03-10-2010, 06:44 PM
Yes and...I totally agree with that situation. I knew when I took this photo that I did have the right to sell it for profit without their permission. I do have the right to show it as a shot I took.

However I am thinking that doesn't extend the right for them to use the photo without permission.

And it seem the flag is a variation of the logo not under the umbrella of their control. That I am not certain about though.

Absolutely. It's yours. You can't profit off of it (directly*) or give it away for any use (charity etc) other than personal without their permission. But they can't use the photo in anyway for any reason, except satire I guess, without your permission.

*(it might be a great portfolio piece that brings in business which is a right always reserved for the artist/creator)

bfoflcommish
03-10-2010, 09:15 PM
Uh-oh, been neg repped again by CB40:

"You need to learn the code of the board. Zach is a troll and you don't do the respectable Broncos fans that he abuses any favors when you respond to him. You are disgrace to the great Rich 'Tombstone' Jackson."

Can someone tell me what the hell the "code of the board" is? Please help. Someone, anyone... what's the code....


code of the board hahahahaha ohhh neg rep, what a dumb****! neg rep me cb40 WHO F'N CARES THAT DOESNT MEAN ****! and judging from this thread alone more people like the chief troll, then you. keep in mind your code of board cb40 then go read the get well crazy horse thread...dumb****, its only your code not the boards.

i'ver told you before and will say again, Zach you are a great photographer, sorry i cant help you here though.

enjolras
03-10-2010, 11:14 PM
A very slightly different situation and that makes all the difference. They had exclusive rights to the buildings and logo yes but not a photo somebody else takes. They won because somebody was using imagery they had the rights to. But they didn't have the rights to the photo that the person used. However that is irrelevant as the only issue they had was that their property was being infringed upon. They didn't care if the owner of the photo had consented or not. The guy could have taken the photo himself and it wouldn't have mattered. Of course that doesn't mean Zach can go selling the image to anybody for any use. There are two separate intellectual properties here and for the photo to be used/sold both respective holders of the rights have to approve.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure your interpretation is not correct. I've been directly involved in a case that's pretty similar to this. In this case I was a board member for a company that had used a photo containing their marks without the permission of the photographer.

This went to trial (the photographer wanted a LOT of money, as this was used in a large campaign). The crux of the issue in the trial was whether or not the trademark represented the focal point of the image (more or less). This seemed to be the most important factor in determining usage rights. In this case the photograph was almost purely of the trademark, and as such the judge ruled that the company owned the full rights to the image.

I'm not entirely aware of the specifics as I just picked this up from what was told to us at the board meeting. The lawyer briefing us did mention that if something significant had otherwise been in the photograph (like a person or even a sufficiently interesting tree) that the case might have gone differently.

Oh and this was litigated in a Texas state court.

YMMV.

Bronco Yoda
03-10-2010, 11:30 PM
You should really ask for the credit Zach. I'm sure they wouldn't mind either. Never know when that might be useful for a portfolio or such.

ZachKC
03-13-2010, 12:36 PM
Update

Everything has been worked out. Through the University the design firm responsible for the work contacted me.

Apologized...said they used the freelancer for this section of work that was done who thought anything on the place the photo was found was public domain. They are interested in working out formal rights for continued use for the photo and also need my services to get shots for their portfolio of the word the did over there.

It is looking like this thing is swinging back quite nicely in my favor. So now that everything has been settled I have to show you guys the shot and how I came about to learn all of this...picture below...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2364/1972665776_3d2ac40b95.jpg

I was sitting around checking out Mizzou news when I saw this Youtube video. Check it out :12 into the vid.

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/bbwrOyJnNbw&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/bbwrOyJnNbw&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

At first I was like "hey that looks like a photo I took a few years back" and then I realized that IS it.

So all parties contacted were reasonable and did the right thing. Happy ending. Funny story IMO.

Killericon
03-13-2010, 01:31 PM
Nice! Glad to hear it worked out for you. Great photo, by the way.