Can I use the logos of other companies on my site?


13

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but can I use the logos of other services and companies on my site? Ie, if I wanted to put up a graphic of some services that relate to local internet marketing, could I put together a graphic with like Yelp/Foursquare/Groupon/Gowalla in it?

With all the Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin logos being used across the internet (without asking them explicitly for permission), maybe some are OK but others not?

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Logo Intellectual Property

asked Aug 12 '10 at 06:27
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Jim Shook
417 points
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5 Answers


10

Not a dumb question at all!

Technically logos are copyrighted so you need permission. Things like the Facebook "like" button typically come with permission as part of their Terms of Service, which you can find on their website.

Generally the TOS for any company will cover logo use, and generally they default to say "You cannot use it," simply because it's the safest. That is, if someone abuses they can always say "no, you have to stop," and yeah, you do.

That said, it's possible to get permission many times.

That said, most people just do it and see what happens, taking the logo down only if they find out and only if they don't give you a variance later. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, good or bad, legal or not, it just is what often happens.

answered Aug 12 '10 at 07:07
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Jason
16,231 points
  • Cool, thanks for the response. Makes sense. – Jim Shook 9 years ago
  • +1, you need permission from the logo owner (if you want to be safe). That said, some sites clearly ignore this, and get away with it - YMMV. Another thing, in some countries using a logo in a way that alludes to your product being certified by, having guaranteed interoperability with, or having a service and support partnership with the logo-company without actually having such an agreement could be seen as false and misleading marketing. So it's not just about using the logo, the words used around it matter too. Words like "Our product is in use in these companies:" are more benign. – Jesper Mortensen 9 years ago
  • "most people just do it and see what happens" sounds like a great article I once read called "@#$%ing sue me". – Jberger 8 years ago

1

Some companies embrace it yes, but I can tell you of one specific company, which I won't name for obvious reasons, that will notify your hosting company of wrong doing, black flag your domain name across the planet and deliver notice to you via a knock on the door with a letter delivered in person ordering you to comply with removing their logo off your website - even though the website said something nice like "proud supporter of XXXXX click here to get your xxxxxx from xxxxxx" and hotlinked back to their website shopping area. Three violations:

  1. Using their logo without consent.
  2. Altering their logo (reduced it to fit in an area on the page)
  3. Hot linking to their site from min...

What was enforceable in court I have no clue. I didn't wait to go that far and I removed everything.

Lesson: Ask for permission, follow instructions to the 't' about which logos to use, sizes to use, context of using it, and check about hotlinking to their site from yours. Print those instructions and consent and file it away safe and sound.

answered Jan 9 '12 at 20:03
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Dr. X
21 points
  • Haven't you just added weight to the answer? What was the punishment for your transgression? A Stay in the hanoi hilton? Large damages? Or just 5 mins work to remove? – Ryan 7 years ago

1

As many have said above, many companies embrace it. They want you to use their logos as long as it is to promote their services o when talking about them ( a blog post for example). Also, check in these companies websites, many companies now have a "Press" page where they have details and media they want you to use when referring to their company.

Good luck!

Ricardo.

answered Aug 12 '10 at 08:48
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Ricardo
4,815 points

1

Here:
https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/IP Questions About Trademark
I want to complain about a company. Can I use their name and logo? Yes. While trademark law prevents you from using someone else's trademark to sell your competing products (you can't make and sell your own "Rolex" watches or name your blog "Newsweek"), it doesn't stop you from using the trademark to refer to the trademark owner or its products (offering repair services for Rolex watches or criticizing Newsweek's editorial decisions). That kind of use, known as "nominative fair use," is permitted if using the trademark is necessary to identify the products, services, or company you're talking about, and you don't use the mark to suggest the company endorses you. In general, this means you can use the company name in your review so people know which company or product you're complaining about. You can even use the trademark in a domain name (like walmartsucks.com), so long as it's clear that you're not claiming to be or speak for the company.

Since trademark law is designed to protect against consumer confusion, non-commercial uses are even more likely to be fair. Be aware that advertising may give a "commercial" character to your site, and some courts have even gone so far as to say that links to commercial sites makes a site commercial.

answered Jan 18 '12 at 22:50
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Alex
11 points

0

You should use the A tag and refer to their website as well as use proper alt tag. Also, when you show your copyright notice in your footer, you can say something like.. "Any trademarks or logos used throughout this website are the property of their respective owners." That normally works.

As previous comments, many companies actually promote the use of their logos as it brings in additional traffic.

HTML5 Tip:
When you add those logos, its now recommended to use HTML5 to add those images. Use Figcaption tag. Your site will get more weight if its up to date (Using HTML5)

Example: Linking Google Logo

HTML5 Linkage :)

<figure> <img src="http://blogoscoped.com/files/logo-template/1.gif" alt="Google's Logo" />

<figcaption>Google.ca</figcaption>
</figure>
Above code will render like this.


Google.ca

answered Aug 15 '10 at 02:19
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Bhargav Patel
784 points
  • I hear the footsteps of Google's thousand strong lawyers marching... – Kim Jong Woo 7 years ago

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