311.. Logo Copied!!! Ahhh!!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Nuttboy311, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Yesterday I got this pop-up add on my computer and it was advertising something for some pop music thing and there was a little portion dedicated to the group 3LW. Now, I was cool with that, but the thing that really cheesed me off was when I noticed that the 3 in 3LW was the same exact design of the 3 in the trademark 311.. logo, along with other suttle similarities. Now, I do not know too much about registered trademarks, but I do remember the 7-11 corporation asking 311 to seize production of their 311 t-shirt based upon the 7-11 logo, or else they would be sued. Now, based on that, isn't it almost the same issue with the 3LW logo on their ad? I could be wrong, I am not an expert. What do you think?
  2. WildBill


    Jul 7, 2002
    My sister is one of the biggest 311 fans Ive ever heard of and she saw the add and got pissed cause she thought it was 311 when she looked at it. but I wouldnt be too worried, I mean 3lw's "star power" is backed up by, Naughty by nature. they wont be around much longer:cool:
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    if it's got something to do with music, it goes in miscellaneous.

    dead racoon at 12 o'clock.
  4. I've not seen the 3LW logo you refer to so what I say from here on out is more for general discussion. Copyright law is a complicated animal that works on different levels. A company can take acception to the use of a look-alike design and can ask the imitators to cease and desist. That's the first level. The original user has that right, and it might or might not stop the second user from further unauthorized use. If it doesn't, the rights holder can take the imitator to court and sue the imitator for infringement. The exact nature of the accusation of infringement and the courts interpretation of the extent of damages to the plaintiff have much to do with whether there is a judgement for the copyright holder or damages awarded. For instance, objects of parody cannot be found to be infringements under the first amendment of the Constitution. They haven't traditionally and they probably won't in the future.

    A trade name can be copyrighted in it's whole form but common words cannot, by themselves, be protected. These fall in what is called the "public domain" in that they are for all of our use. Sometimes a trade name can be used by another company but only under circumstances where there is no possible "crossover" recognition between the two. For instance a company may have a vacuum called the "Red Devil" but an insecticide company can market a "Red Devil" ant killer without problem. This doesn't preclude the vacuum folks from suing the bug killer people but, traditionally, the courts recognize that there is little to no damage to either party by using the same name. Consumer recognition and confusion seem to be the measuring sticks in these situations.

    Images are somewhat different in how they can be used and what is considered infringement. The case of the 311 logo is a good example. If (and I assure you that it is) the 311 guys have copyrighted their name and logo image, then it's an infringement to use it without permission. But, there are some conditions that exist that could change that. One is that 311 can't copyright the typeface used for their logo unless it is unique. If they used an off-the-shelf typeface for their design, then the original type foundry has the copyrights to that alphabet form. If the digits were designed especially for the 311 logo and are unique, then the entire design is considered as a whole and can't be reproduced without permission. If someone were to take a part of the logo - like the "3" - and use it in their own work, they could probably do it with impunity since the entire "311" logo is considered the protected entity. Using small parts of it is usually not actionable but that can be litigated. Using a substantial part of a protected design is usually against the law. Another quirky aspect of this is the possibility of using a protected design with enough modifications to make it unique. Though it sounds like a wide gray area, it is actually quite common to have judges rule in favor of defendants because the design was changed enough to avoid confusion by the normal person. That is especially true when the products represented by the similiar logos are vastly different in scope and market.

    Having been a (visual) designer for years and having been involved in infringement cases with a few of my clients, I have tried to keep up with some of this stuff. But, as you can see, it's a complicated, twisted subject. Throw into the mix the distinct possibility that a jury or individual judge could go against precedent and it gets even hairier.
  5. iplaybass

    iplaybass Guest

    Feb 13, 2000
    Germantown, TN
    Wow! Impressive Hambone.
  6. RedV


    Mar 19, 2002
    Eustis, FL
    I think I learned to much for tonight. My head hurts.

    I gotta go to bed.

  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  8. I completely understood all of that, somehow, lol. Anyways, the logo did infact confuse me because at first and second glance it appears to be the 311 logo, which is their own design. Even others have said that they thought that it was the 311 logo at first. Oh well, I guess I am just too obsessive with 311. :p