Copyright and Fair Use: What is it?

By Dalton B.

Copyright infringement has destroyed lots of companies just because the logos look similar. Some are even within the right of fair use. Some were just complete copies. Let’s learn about copyright and how to use fair use.

When you look at a label and you see that “©” symbol next to company names, what do you think that is? That is called the copyright symbol meaning that the name is copyrighted and using it in things that you make and sell could land you in court or jail. If you have a copyright name on your branding and you have nothing to do with that name you will be sent a Cease & Desist letter. This is the way that they can tell you to either stop selling with their name on your branding or you will be sent to court. If I got one of these letters, I would immediately stop production with that branding and label.

Fair use is when you are legally allowed to use copyrighted material under very specific circumstances. Meaning you could say anything you want about the logos and you could not be taken to court by the company. Depending on how serious a company wants to get they can try to send you to court, but if it’s well within fair use they can’t do anything. Under the laws of fair use you are allowed to use copyrighted material in “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, [and] research.” (From Section 107 of the Copyright Act)

Copyright is when a company or person either claims a sentence, word, song, and/or logo. When a logo or word is under copyright laws you can not use that logo or words/sentence for any purpose. You can only use the words/sentences and/or logo if you have permission to use them, if you do not and you just take all of them and use them for monetization you can be sent to court. If you make a complete mockery of a logo like you decided to use the logo, but you were the one to draw it and you on purpose made it bad you can’t go to court because of fair use. Same with songs, if you make covers or mocks of the song and keep it sort of original and you make it with a different sound than before that is protected from copyright claims.

In conclusion, you should never commit copyright infringement, you can be sued and lose all your money, you can be sent to prison, and you can be sent one piece of paper telling you to stop. I would follow what that paper says.


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