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Will I Be Sued for Using This As My Logo

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by anthonywater, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. anthonywater

    anthonywater Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    US Federal Law
    I was thinking of utilizing this Beatles artwork as a building concept for my new business logo:

    https://www.thebeatlesonline.co.uk/t...ed/0I4U0000000

    My logo would have the people spell out a completely different word with their hands and I would change the clothes of the people (their would still be four people however). Is it possible for me to still get sued later on for doing this, and if so what can be done to not be sued or avoid legal ramifications. Thanks a lot.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If you change the clothes and the word it makes it very hard to even make the connection to The Beatles. It may as well be an image of The Village People.

    awww.ctdaylily.com_images_ymca_pose_snl.jpg





    (Note... Not actual village people)
    [​IMG]
     

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you're posting from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, you might wish to seek a site that focuses on Canadian laws, as US federal laws have NOTHING to do with the sovereign nation of Canada.
     
  5. anthonywater

    anthonywater Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks, I was thinking about keeping the same colors, that would still be fine though right? thanks again
     
  6. anthonywater

    anthonywater Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Sorry about that, thanks for the heads up will pick the appropriate location next time, thanks
     
  7. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Just as an FYI, any question that starts out "Will I...." can truly only be answered by, "I don't know - the crystal ball is out for cleaning". No one here (or on any other board) knows what WILL happen, but the right board can probably give you a fair idea on what CAN happen.
     
  8. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    No one can tell you what may or may not happen.

    The general principle behind trademark law (and it's generally similar because it's the same problem to solve) is to ensure that the marketplace isn't confused by one business masquerading as another. If you are happy with the quality and substance of Hewlett-Packard computer products then someone else shouldn't be allowed to market their competing product with a confusingly similar name (like Hewlet-Packerd) which will likely cause you / the marketplace to confuse some low quality imported computer product with what you expected - a product manufactured by Hewlett-Packard. Same goes for logos - no "likelihood of confusion" in the marketplace between your logo and others.

    On the flip side, freedom of expression must be maintained because people can't be expected to restrict their normal course of life to try to adjust for names, images or expression which isn't unique enough to protect from normal usage. And it's also far too confusing to know whether "White Envelopes" would be the name of a company or a common object. So the essence here is about how unique your use may be. The more unique, the more likely it can be protected. The more people will see something out of the ordinary and immediately associate it with something else puts you in a questionable territory, sometimes for better sometimes for worse. Here is a famous example of similar concepts... such as an album cover walking across Abbey Road.

    Abbey Road - The Beatles

    The Abbey Road - Red Hot Chili Peppers

    This is probably a good example for you to consider.
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    For starters, the image on the cover of Help! was supposed to depict the members of the Beatles spelling "HELP" in semaphore. What they are actually spelling is "NUJV." In other words, it's nothing but nonsense.

    That aside, no one owns exclusive rights to individuals posing in such a way as to look like letters (whether actual letters or semaphore). Nor does anyone own exclusive rights to photos of individuals walking across Abbey Road.

    Of course, if you had the individuals dress in such a way as to look like the Beatles, you could find yourself with a Bette Midler/Tom Waits issue.
     
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