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   Author  Topic: Several Questions on drawing and writing  (Read 782 times)
K._Harper
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Several Questions on drawing and writing
« on: Dec 12th, 2005, 5:20pm »
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Hello!
 
I had an idea for a story (with art, drawn by myself) involving Girl Scout characters, but the more I wrote the more I started wondering if I was violating any copyrights or trademarks. I'm not sure if I'll even put it on the web or not, but the thought still bothers me. I've learned a lot reading posts here, on the government trademarks and copyrights site and various places on the web. I even sent the GSUSA an email pertaining to some details, but it's been quite a while with not reply. Cry But I still have some things that are ambiguous in my brain that I hope you can help me with.
 
Oh, guess I'll go ahead and throw a link here to their Terms & Conditions straight off their website:
http://www.girlscouts.org/terms_conditions.asp
 
1: Their terms state that many trademarks are covered such as "Girl Scouts," "Brownie Girl Scouts," etc. Am I allowed to use any of this in writing?
 
2: Their terms state that logotypes, insignia, uniform designs, and etc. are covered. Does this prevent me from drawing anyone in a Girl Scout uniform (is there a difference with or without insignia)? Are their uniforms past and present really covered by copyright?
 
3: If either of the above are indeed a no go: If I designed my own fictional scout association, with different uniforms, insignia, etc etc, would this be considered a derivative work? Alongside this, how would I keep from making a derivative work?
 
The way their website lumps all their copyright and trademark information together makes it hard for me to decipher what is what. If anyone could help me out on this I would greatly appreciate it.  
 
Thanks!
K. Harper
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JSonnabend
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Re: Several Questions on drawing and writing
« Reply #1 on: Dec 13th, 2005, 8:01am »
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on Dec 12th, 2005, 5:20pm, K._Harper wrote:
1: Their terms state that many trademarks are covered such as "Girl Scouts," "Brownie Girl Scouts," etc. Am I allowed to use any of this in writing?

Generally speaking, you can write a story about a Girl Scout, etc. without fear of TM suits.  Your use is not a TM use, and First Amendment protection for literature and journalism usually trump TM rights.
 
Quote:
2: Their terms state that logotypes, insignia, uniform designs, and etc. are covered. Does this prevent me from drawing anyone in a Girl Scout uniform (is there a difference with or without insignia)? Are their uniforms past and present really covered by copyright?

Their insignia and uniforms are likely covered to some extent by copyright (and perhaps trademark/trade dress as well).  That's not to say you can't use the images in your own work.  It's not as clear cut a case as issue #1, however, and I've never addressed this issue head-on, so take this advice with a (bigger) grain of salt.
 
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3: If either of the above are indeed a no go: If I designed my own fictional scout association, with different uniforms, insignia, etc etc, would this be considered a derivative work? Alongside this, how would I keep from making a derivative work?

I wouldn't worry about derivative works in creating your own scout association.  The Girl Scouts of America have no proprietary interest in the concept of scouting organizations for youth.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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K. Harper
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Re: Several Questions on drawing and writing
« Reply #2 on: Dec 14th, 2005, 8:56pm »
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Doh. I knew I should've written my password down. And the email reminder system doesn't seem to like me either. Heh, oh well right?  Wink
 
Thanks for the reply JSonnabend. That does clear up a little of the confusion. I was able to get my hands on a GS Catalog today, and so I jotted down the copyright and trademark information from a page inside:
 
"The "Girl Scouts" name, official Girl Scout service mark, and "Trefoil Design" are just three of the many marks owned by Girl Scouts of the USA and are protected by law for use by GSUSA. All Girl Scout merchandise sold in the Official Girl Scout Catalog is also protected. None of the items in this catalog may be copied, duplicated, reproduced, or sold under our trademark without prior express written authorization from Girl Scouts of the USA."
 
Not sure if this helps clear up my second question at all. But I was thinking that since I'm not copying anything at a material level, and instead only drawing the uniforms, would that still be considered as copying or reproducing them?
 
Also, are their trademarks and symbols simply a brand name or logo to identify the business? Since I'm not in this for commerce, do those rules still apply?
 
Thanks again for the help!
K. Harper
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JSonnabend
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Re: Several Questions on drawing and writing
« Reply #3 on: Dec 15th, 2005, 8:31am »
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The information you've added doesn't change anything.
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SonnabendLaw
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ted kaplan
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Re: Several Questions on drawing and writing
« Reply #4 on: Dec 25th, 2005, 8:59am »
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on Dec 15th, 2005, 8:31am, JSonnabend wrote:
The information you've added doesn't change anything.

 
an inoccent use of a drawing in a magazine ad without any idea it was a covered trademark, drawn freehand by an artaist. does it come under 15 usc 1114 if the use is discontinued upon notice from the owner of the traemark, and subject only to an injunction and no monetary penalty.
thanks for your input
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