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Google Cease & Desists Logo Use  (View post)

Niraj Sanghvi [PersonRank 10]

Friday, August 17, 2007
16 years ago5,831 views

I thought this would fall under fair use for educational (as in this case) or parody purposes? It's not like he was trying to make money off the logo or claim to be associated with Google.

And if they are serious about not allowing such things, does that mean you could never include a Google services logo on this blog? Seems pretty absurd.

Martin Porcheron [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

So, I expect that Google is going to admit that it's guilty in the case of Google v. Viacom for copyright infringement (Google is using Viacom's media without prior permission).

I say, remove the logo and stick the C&D on chillingeffects.org

Gorgon Zola [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

US trademark law requires that you protect your mark, or you can be deemed to have abandoned it. Google has to send these letters. Otherwise, if they find themselves in a fight with a malicious appropriator in the future, they could be seeing Frank's website in an exhibit before the court being used to show that Google abandoned their trademark. Large companies' legal departments crank these out all the time. I don't think it's something to get too worked up about, but if you do find your blood pressure raised over situations like this, your energies would probably best be directed towards changing the law.

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> US trademark law requires that you protect your mark

Yeah, but not when somebody is using your trade mark to refer TO YOU for informational purposes. All the media, especially TV, is using comapnis logos when referring to them and Google is offering you the logo in different formats itself, so you can link to them or use in publications. This letter is just plain ridiculous.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Philipp,
Have you ever gotten one of those letters? Just yesterday I was reading about the Gmail logo in the forums.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Yes, I did. Google's lawyers sent me one of those letters quite some time ago asking me to remove the Googlebomb logo which I used to illustrate posts about Googlebombing:

http://blogoscoped.com/files/googlebomb.gif

In fact, they also asked me to take down my Google Answers Researcher logo... why? Because it's supposedly reserved for Google Answers Researchers! Well, duh, I was a researcher at that time, so I didn't take it down:

http://blogoscoped.com/files/researcher-logo.gif

The Googlebomb logo I did replace with just a bomb icon, but after some time I figured, what the heck, this is crazy, and replaced it with the full logo again and wrote Google an email informing them of my decision. And then, they told me their trademark lawyers were OK with this now.

I think it's truly strange for a company who wants user participation all day long (Google Maps mashups for instance) and hosts one of the biggest "copyright problems" in the world (YouTube) to send out these letters. Mashup when you're asked to, Shuddup when we don't like it?

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

It's clever to ask authorization from Google before using it. It is exactly what we did at Zorgloob on "the map of Google services", we asked authorization and Google has given it.

Marcin Sochacki (Wanted) [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

While I agree that this is quite stupid of Google lawyers to fight for that logo on this particular website, there might be a deeper issue here.

AFAIK trademark law in the U.S. says that you have to actively defend your trademark preventing misuse, as otherwise it's assumed you're OK with any use of the TM.

The legal dept at Google might be compelled to send those letters to the popular sites. OTOH, it might just be the the team's run for performance, so that they can write extensive reports to the management.

Anyway, it would be great if they paid more attention to the actual content of the site and target those which are indeed hurting Google's image first.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Evidently, some lawyer's looking for a pay raise; he's trying to boost his productivity score.

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

^ Not necessarily. Like others have pointed out, Google's just trying to cover their ass!

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> Google's just trying
> to cover their ass!

I think its obvious for everybody that the site haven't "misused" the logo. I'm pretty sure it isn't any global company policy.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Here's what Wikipedia says when they use the Google logo in their article – maybe Google should first sue them before bullying small-time webmasters:

<<Non-free / fair use media rationale

Description Logo of Google.
Source Google.com
Portion used The image and the corporation it represents are critically discussed by the article.
Low resolution? The low resolution nature of the image prevents reuse which could infringe on the commercial benefit of the copyright owner.
Purpose of use Identification
(...)

Other information Google has willingly published such images to represent their products and company.>>

And:

<<This is a logo of an organization, item, or event, and is protected by copyright and/or trademark. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, of logos for certain uses involving identification and critical commentary may qualify as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. Certain commercial use of this image may also be trademark infringement.>>

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Looks like he's pretty ticked off!

<< Space formerly dedicated to a US startup that launched the second search engine with two OO in the name. Sadly this company has concerns with me using their logo and mark. So I had to remove mentioning and logo (due to the same reason there is a "hole" in the page header). Just so that you know this US startup does have a reasonably popular service in the wider area of local and maps – which now is no longer listed here. Special Thanks go to the OO people in Ireland! Really good use of ur time! And hey do a search for your company name and Logo and you will find like ~9mio results. So IMHO the job you guys have should be pretty safe over this summer holiday season! Cheers>>

Veky [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> Mashup when you're asked to, Shuddup when we don't like it?

Or more generally, just do what we tell you. These are small, elementary issues where they can relatively safely probe how powerful "small people" think Google is, and adjust their attitude in bigger things accordingly. Sending such a letter to Wikipedia wouldn't help, because they already know their answer. :-)

Hmmmm [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I think Google was just upset that they were not the first search engine listed on his page. They were 2nd under Yahoo ...

I suspect that if they were listed in the #1 spot on his page the cease & desists letter would never have been sent :)

Erica [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

http://www.google.com/intl/en/stickers.html

  
Google Logos

Although we'd like to accommodate all the requests we receive from users who want to add a touch of Google to their sites, we are passionate about protecting the reputation of our brand as an objective and fair provider of search results. We allow use of the Google logo by express permission only. Please review our Permissions Requests page at http://www.google.com/permissions/index.html. If you have received permission to use the Google logo, you may wish to use one of the stickers below.

http://www.google.com/permissions/index.html

   All of our trademarks, logos, web pages, screen shots and other distinctive features ("Google Brand Features") are protected by applicable trademark, copyright and other intellectual property laws. If you would like to use any of Google Brand Features on your website, in an ad, in an article or book, or reproduce them anywhere else, you may need to first receive permission from Google. We've tried to make this process as painless as possible.

So what part of that is not clear enough?

Patrick Kempf [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Hm. On the german page (http://www.google.com/intl/de/stickers.html) there is no notice about the request of permission.

Veky [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> So what part of that is not clear enough?

That what you quote is very clear. What is not clear is that Google can actually enforce their rules. Trademarks don't apply when there is no danger from consumer confusion, using a small logo clearly for comment purposes is probably fair use, and "intellectual property" is an oxymoron _and_ an abuse of language.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> "... you may need to first receive permission from Google ..."
>
> So what part of that is not clear enough?

It's clear. Even Google isn't saying that you necessarily MUST receive permission first. Even Google are acknowledging that, legally, you MAY need to receive permission first (i.e. in some circumstances only).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

A copyright holder cannot restrict fair use, though, no matter what terms or legalese they put up...

Veky [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Fair use is probably irrelevant here, since Google legal team is calling trademark, not copyright abuse. Here the only thing that matters is: is there a reasonable expectation of consumer confusion? As they say, it "misleads consumers into believing that some association exists between you and Google". If that's really true, that's trademark infringement, and no fair use appeal can help. But the question is if it's really true. Could somebody reasonable (lawyers aren't by definition;) be expected to believe that there is a business association between frank fuchs and Google? I think not. You?

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