Thursday, July 15, 2004

Don't mess with Hillsborough's "copyright"

The Town of Hillsborough, North Carolina is going to "copyright" it's town logo, according to this article. Most probably this is an example of a writer who didn't even bother to look up the difference between copyright and trademark. The logo is more likely to be trademarked as a designation of source, not copyrighted as an original creative work (it may not even be copyrightable). Anyway, the town logo is of an old clock. The town's boardmembers recently made the decision to exercise control over their brand, stating:

"For $35, it's kind of a no-brainer to do. For $35, why not have some sort of control over it? If it's our brand, the town brand, then we should be able to have some sort of legal control over it." ... "I don't think there's anybody misusing it," he said. "It's just something, I feel like, something we should do."

Yeah, why not? All this for only $35, that's 7 easy payments of $5! And not only that, we'll also send you a blog post featuring YOUR TOWN absolutely FREE! Hurry folks! Call now before someone steals your town name!


Blogger esq. said...

My understanding is that pictorial representations of architectural works are permitted, notwithstanding the copyright. That is if the building is “located in or ordinarily visible from a public place” , the owner of the copyright cannot prevent the making, distributing or public display of pictorial representations of the work.

7/16/2004 7:44 PM  
Blogger CRC said...

There is an exception for publicly visible architecture. You can certainly take a photo of a building and use it for any purpose, you own the copyright in the photo. I imagine in this case Hillsborough's protection will be very narrow, i.e. a local business would be safe if it used the clock tower picture as long as it didn't also include the phrases "Town of Hillsborough" and "since 1754" as well.

I am trying to think of some other trademarks that use architecture, but I'm drawing a blank, can you think of any? I know there must be some.

7/17/2004 10:53 AM  

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