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Author Topic: Woodworking - Carving a copyrighted design as requested from same group  (Read 542 times)

shuey911

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Hi everyone. Name is Charlie, a retired 24yr veteran of the Fire department, now full time wood-worker (for myself). I make all sorts of wooden signs and plaques using a computer controlled CNC machine. Sparing you all the gory details, here's my question. I am very often requested to design and carve a custom sign or plaque for a service date anniversary or retirement celebration for a U.S. service member or club member within an association, such as a combat veterans group, US Navy, Airforce etc. We even do a lot of business with motorcycle clubs (MC's) whom also retain strict copyrights on their logos. Now while most of these groups have copyrights on their particular logo or seal - US Navy and larger MC clubs for example, am I violating laws when a 'member' of that particular group hires me to carve them a plaque using the logo or seal to be included as 'part' of my finished product? I believe that if I made a US NAVY seal copy in wood and then tried to sell that on the open market, that would be a clear violation (if anyone was really interested in pursuing that) but what if the request is from a member of the same club, group or service for their use. I've made these custom items as a direct request from Senior Military officers as well as family members of the active or veteran service members. I've also done a lot from law enforcement folks such as the Sheriffs office, bomb squads etc. Please let me know where I stand on these 'special request'. Does permission to use their logo go along with their request to make one or not. Hope I'm making sense. Thank you
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Robert T Nicholson

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Organizational seals can be protected by both copyright and trademark law.

Individual members of those organizations do not have the right to violate those protections, nor do they have the right to commission others to do so (unless the organization specifically grants those rights to its members). 

US Service branch seals cannot be used for non-official purposes without written permission.

You are right that nobody is likely to pursue you for the use you describe, but it is technically a violation of IP laws.

« Last Edit: 04-29-18 at 11:50 pm by Robert T Nicholson »
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This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center

shuey911

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Thanks Robert - Uncomfortable position to be put in. Shu
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