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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Using a Logo Similar to That of a Major Corporation

    A little background on my situation: I help out a musician friend, who is fairly recognized in his genre (15 years). I am the Street team Coordinator, I receive emails from fans who want to help promote local shows for this musician by printing out flyers and posting them around their town. I also help oversee the social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and a Street Team web site. I also design flyers and posters for the musician. I do all of this for free.
    Here is the problem. The musician has designed a Street Team logo that looks a lot like the Harley Davidson logo. The shield in the HD logo has been changed to a guitar pic and his name is across in the style (similar font, but not the same) as the HD wording. I have told him that this is copyright/trademark infringement and that he could be sued for infringements and face hefty fines, including punitive damages. The musician has posted the image as the main photo on his personal Facebook page, his musician Facebook fan page, the Street Team Facebook page, and the Street Team web site. I know that the musician and his manager can be sued, but can I? I am concerned because I am aware that he is illegally using the image. I refuse to use the logo in anything I create, but because I oversee several of the Facebook pages and the Street Team web site could I possibly be sued/taken to court?

    I have expressed my concerns with him, he said he understands and that this logo will just be temporary until a new design is finished (this could be a couple of weeks). I designed a new logo, but he is insistent on keeping the Harley Davidson looking image. Someone has already commented on his logo that "someone must be a Harley fan".

    Any advice?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Copyright/Trademark Infringement and Scope of Those Held Responsible

    It's most likely not copyright infringement, but the trademark issues are real. If H-D thinks that you are either creating confusion with their mark or diluting their famous mark, the business could sued. It's unlikely they'd come after an individual employee. Most of these are "cease and desist" type suits, but if it gets to a lawsuit, expect to rack up some legal bills.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Copyright/Trademark Infringement and Scope of Those Held Responsible

    If you volunteer your time, you won't be legally considered to be an employee so you should be in the clear if H.D. thinks that the logo infringes upon theirs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Copyright/Trademark Infringement and Scope of Those Held Responsible

    Quote Quoting Browne
    View Post
    If you volunteer your time, you won't be legally considered to be an employee so you should be in the clear if H.D. thinks that the logo infringes upon theirs.
    that wouldn't make any difference in a trademark infringement issue. All that matters is if the OP is actually using the mark. Depending on that amount of control he has in the facebook page or any other situation the mark is being used, he could incur some liability.

    I don't know what a street team coordinator is, in the legal sense, but if it is ruled that position is the person that controls the content of the street team website and the mark is used on that website, it could be problematic for the OP, even if he isn't getting paid.

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