Legality of Logo's

I am currently doing a model of a custom rock crawler. To make it look real im putting logos on it. My question is that if i include this model in a tutorial or something that i publish, do i need to obtain permission from the company’s who own the logo’s?

btw the Logos are AMSoil, Chevy, Simpson Racing, JEG’s, and maybe Edelbrock or H&R depending on space constraints.

I know for sure that you want to put somewere a copyright to each respective owner. Putting it next to the image or at the bottom is good.

I don’t think a company would bother sueing you for just a tutorial like this…after all it does make them free publicity…but still to be sure just put a “this logo is registrated trademark of blablabla” at the end of your tutorial or under the picture or whatever

Not even the most evil corporation on earth is going to sue you for something you aren’t making a profit from.

This is free, right?

Umm, have to disagree there. some people get sued all the time for things they aren’t making a profit on.


In regards to using company trademarked items on your models, I’d have to say to be perfectly safe, you’d need to go see what their individual fair useage guidelines are.

Or you do like the movies, and blurr out the actual image so you know what it is by the shape and/or color, but not by the actual label.

(I am not a lawyer, but…)

If you are just planning to post this stuff on a website, I wouldn’t worry. I think you would be asked to remove the content long, long before anybody tried to sue you. In this case I think it’s unlikely that you would even be asked to remove the content.

However, if you’re planning to have this published by a publishing company or hosted in a high profile way by a high-traffic site, like for example the Blender foundation’s gallery or webpage, then it would probably be safest to avoid any potentially infringing things. There’s a lot of gray area on the web, (uh, YouTube, anyone?) but companies that have to actually take responsibility for their content first hand (YouTube has the plausible deniability that it allows people to upload stuff freely and responds to complaints, so it’s in a slightly different position) are going to be very careful.

A good example is something like this image by Zoltan Miklosi. It’s on his personal website and I think that there’s no problem with that at all. In this case, the Blender gallery might even be okay with it.

However, it was one of the submissions to the gallery for my own book, to be published by Sybex, and in the end Sybex decided it was better not to run it, just to avoid the slightest risk of any potential legal entanglements.

So, my short answer is, don’t worry about it unless you plan to A) make money from it or B) pursue any kind of mass-media exposure for it.

and remember that as long as you control the use of the image physically, the worst that is really going to happen is that you will be mailed a letter asking you to cease and desist using their logo. At that time you politely stop doing so. That is all that will happen. They don’t sue first, they send the letter first. It would be a waste of their time to sue first. They wait and see if you think you have the right to do it. If they ask you not to, you don’t, so just take it down.

as long as you control the use of the image physically

This is a good point, and this is one reason why somebody like a publisher is much more cautious than just a website, because once they’ve put a physical book out, there’s nothing they can do to take it offline if somebody complains.

So consider how you want to “publish” it. If it’s somethiing you wouldn’t be able to take offline if asked to, then be careful.

Umm, have to disagree there. some people get sued all the time for things they aren’t making a profit on.


That really has no bearing on this whatsoever. apples and oranges.

Would you ask the same question if you were putting said stickers on your VW/skateboard/schoolbag? What’s the difference between using a real sticker and a vertual one?

Paranoia strikes deep,
Into your life it will creep,

Stephen Stills


Companies are bound by law to inforce their rights to Trademarks or risk losing them, as such it is best not use them in your products.

Well, there’s also the notion of “fair use,” and if you are applying a company trademark to something that looks like the company’s product and is not a desparaging use of that mark, they probably won’t mind.

You can also modify the mark slightly, as Shrek-2 did with things like “Farbucks Coffee.” Notice, however, that in the end-credits of their movie they did acknowledge the marks and their owners, and the use was that of a good-natured parody, not desparaging. Obviously, in this case the studio scrupulously did secure permission.

It certainly would not be wrong to put at the bottom of the image, alongside your copyright: “Registered trademarks used in this image are the property of their respective owners. They have been added for realism, but these images are not intended to represent these companies’ actual products.”

Something like that. If any lawyer complains, quietly comply.

If you use their logo in any public work (this included still renders and tutorials), you’re breaking the law. Personal work is a different story- if no one but you sees it, it’s legal :wink:

There are 2 exceptions to the fundementals of copyrighting. And, be careful, because these can be blurred and are situational dependant. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t tell you the technicalities behind all of it, but I do know that these two exceptions apply in almost all cases:

  1. You can use a copyright for educational purposes
  2. You can use a copyright if you’re talking about a company of what it represents directly, or you’re using them as a good or bad example of something. -Basically that falls into the realm of eductation but can also be used in an advertising sense as well.

Either way, legally it’s best to make it clear that you’re using a copyright and give proper credit.
However, in this case, I highly doubt anyone would sue you. If you just refer to the image as “The logo of ____” then that’s probably more than enough just to make it clear that the copyright is symbolic of their product or company.