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Old September 30th, 2003, 11:00 PM   #1
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Usage of Gov't Logos

I'm planning out a short film project that may require the use of a government logo. Specifically, the logo for the Office of Homeland Security.

My initial gut on its usage is that since it's a gov't insignia, that it doesn't require special permission for its usage in a creative project. However, that's just a guess, based off of the fact that I've seen in the past that film/video footage that is produced by the gov't using tax dollars is generally public domain.

Does anyone know for real?
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Old September 30th, 2003, 11:55 PM   #2
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I don't know a sure answer to this but I would think that it would require permission. Paul Tauger has been very helpful in these matters in the past, so maybe he will chime in. Or try doing a search because this topic may have been brought up before.
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Old October 1st, 2003, 01:38 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to this one. There isn't a trademark concern, as far as I know. However, there may be some applicable statute somewhere. For example, I seem to recall that there is some prohibition against using the American flag in advertising. If I get a chance, I'll try to research this.
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Old October 1st, 2003, 06:46 PM   #4
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I do know that one cannot use the emblem (which I think is the correct term here rather than logo) of the FBI for what I think are obvious reasons: preventing people from impersonating themselves as FBI agents etc.

The same logic would apply to the office of Homeland Security?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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This is a really old topic, but maybe things have changed or someone knows the answer now.

I want to list a number of government agencies for an internal corporate video while showing their logos on the screen. Does anyone know if I need the rights to the logos or if this is fair use? Am I missing something else?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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For a creative narrative I did that features a Homeland Security type orginization I played it safe and created one that sounded and looked similiar. Kinda like what the TV show 24 did with CTU.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #7
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For a narrative I completely understand how that works and keeps you safe. But I need to specifically address certain agencies in the video. And since I have no footage of their offices, etc., I figured displaying their logos would suffice. Am I in the wrong?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #8
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Look at this thread (if hadn't already)

Looking for "FBI WARNING" and "Not Yet Rated" Intertitles for a DVD - The Digital Video Information Network

If the FBI doesn't like thier logo used w/o permission I can't imagine the DHS would like it any better.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #9
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This should answer your question and how to get permission.
DHS | Department of Homeland Security Intellectual Property Policy
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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:08 PM   #10
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I have looked at both links and they both propose interesting points as far as our government and the reproduction of their logos.

In the case where you are misrepresenting yourself as them (as in the use of the FBI Warning) I can see it as wrong. And in the case of using the DHS logo I guess I can see where some national security threat could be stretched. (like if you have people running around in your video with DHS badges).

But in an informative video, which mine is, that references where information can be found, for example: "Unemployment information can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor website" then I wonder where the issue would be of the use. It's probably the case to get permission, just to be safe, but I still see this as fair use of their logo.
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Old March 7th, 2009, 02:39 AM   #11
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Don't know about Homeland security but...

I don't know about the department of homeland security, but other government agencies' logos are protected by trademark laws and do require permission to use, just like if you were using a trademark of a private company.
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