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  1. #1
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    Copyright/Trademark Question
    Hello,

    I am in the process of building my first Sellfire store via Wordpress plugin. I am using a number of affiliates like SAS and CJ. Halfway through the building process I found a possible issue. I've searched this forum and others, but haven't found an answer.

    The site I am building is a Michigan Wolverine themed store. I have placed the traditional "Block M" on either side of the header. It is a block M in book-antiqua, and says nothing about the University itself, either in the text, or the header.

    Even though there is a "block m", would this still be considered copyright or trademark infringement?

    I've read the TOS from both SAS and CJ, and there was nothing covering this topic.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Paging Wade Tonkin. Wade Tonkin, you have a telephone call at the front desk.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Spiritual418,

    On issues like this, your best bet is to check the school's rules for approved use of their logo - University of Michigan Identity Guidelines

    I'd advise that you steer clear of use of the official logo on your site, and let the logos on the products speak for you. The schools are really picky on this and they like to get licensing money and have approval if you're going to be using their registered logo for your commercial venture.

    Pretty much every school out there has a page like this - just google the name of the institution and "logo use" or "registered trademarks"
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks Affiliate Warrior...

    I see they mention not using it for commercial-use, which is what I had figured. My problem was figuring whether it could be considered a "logo", as it is a letter from the alphabet using a font the university couldn't possibly copyright, as that font is applicable at all to the University of Michigan.

    However, best to stay on the safe side. That sucks, but it's far better than getting sued or having my site taken down.

    Thanks again!

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  6. #5
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    If you don't use their font, or something that is close, you should be fine.

    If you do, you're treading on dangerous ground.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

  7. #6
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    Again, I've searched this before posting, but would there be an issue, do you think, if I added images of a merchant's products that have the logo/s? I wouldn't think adding a few product images relevant to the niche would be infringement, since it isn't exclusive to the university, but more so to the merchant...

  8. #7
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    As an affiliate, you should only be adding banners and images supplied to you by the affiliate manager.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  10. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    As an affiliate, you should only be adding banners and images supplied to you by the affiliate manager.
    Or provided through the program. If an affiliate will ask me if they can use branded logos I go to the merchant and get a Yes or No. We have heard many stories here of affiliate building a monster branded site just to have it closed down by a legal department.

  11. #9
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    So if I went that route, would I contact the merchant or SAS/CJ? I spent a long time last night finding a new way to set up how the store looks, and without the logo, all I can say is "lame". At least thus far...

  12. #10
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    If you're using product images from my site in the context of an affiliate link, I am all for it. The way we're licensed to use logo's in banners is usually restricted to the context of using it on a product that is featured in the banner.

    If you'd like to chat and have me look at what you're trying to do, I may be able to help out. Get in touch at wtonkin //at// fanatics dot com.

    BTW - checking with SAS or CJ on this is a waste of time. They can't give any permission on use of trademarked images from one of their merchants. The two parties you need to deal with are the merchant and the trademark holder.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
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  13. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    We recently contacted the NFL to ask for permission to use team logos. Flat out declined us...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #12
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Convergence, they will generally turn it down or ask for money. You're best to not even try to use them unless it's in the context of an ad from a merchant who knows the restrictions or unless it's on a product link from the merchant. Licensing is tricky stuff. The rules are crazy. We have newspapers that work with us where they can't use the name of the team on their banners - can only show the name/logo through product images.

    I guess the long and short of it is, assume nothing, and work closely with your affiliate managers because a good chunk of what affiliates think they can use on their sites without permission is wrong when it comes to licensed sports memorabilia. I see it every day.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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  16. #13
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    Thanks, Affiliate Warrior. My only experience in this area is a few Zazzle shops I created last year. Because it was Zazzle there were no trademark issues to deal with. I'm just going to use products in the banner & see what happens. I don't think there'll be much of an issue...

    Convergence: Gotta love being denied when you're inadvertently attempting to make the NFL some money, eh?

  17. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritual418 View Post
    Convergence: Gotta love being denied when you're inadvertently attempting to make the NFL some money, eh?
    Was MY logic, lol - except it wasn't inadvertently.

    This was their response:

    Quote Originally Posted by NFL
    Thank you for your interest in the National Football League. As you may know, NFL Properties LLC (“NFLP”) is the exclusive representative of the National Football League (“NFL”) and its 32 member clubs (“Member Clubs”), for the licensing and protection of the names, logos, color and color combinations, uniform designs, slogans and other identifying trademarks, content, and copyrights of the NFL and its Member Clubs (the “NFL Marks”).

    We cannot grant you permission to use the NFL Marks for your online retail business. Indeed, NFL Marks may not be used in a way that suggests that your business (a) has the endorsement of, (b) is otherwise sponsored or licensed by, or (c) is affiliated with, the NFL or its Member Clubs. As you are likely aware, the NFL maintains its own online retail business, www.nflshop.com. The NFL has licensing relationships with various entities and must respect the rights granted to these partners.

    We appreciate your integrity and time.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  18. #15
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    That's strange. I've seen tons and tons of affiliate NFL shop while researching college football affiliates. Some even still had "Powered by Wordpress" at the bottom.

  19. #16
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritual418 View Post
    That's strange. I've seen tons and tons of affiliate NFL shop while researching college football affiliates. Some even still had "Powered by Wordpress" at the bottom.
    Not really - ignorance is bliss. Personally prefer to not get into trouble - have too much to lose...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  20. #17
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Are there people who have gotten away with things? Sure - there always are.

    However, licensors have a funny way of discovering unauthorized use at the point when an affiliate who didn't follow the rules has started making money. This is when it becomes worthwhile for the league to unleash the legal hounds and take the domain and the revenue earned from improper use.

    Team owners, etc are very competitive and are long on ego and legal staffing. There are also some merchants that are more active in policing policies than others.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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