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NFL and Major College Program Stance on Amateur Teams Using Their Logos


_RH_

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I thought the NFL allows schools to use their logos for teams. Unless thats just high school

And in any case, schools are not allowed to alter the logos in any way, including re-colors.

Well that's flat out untrue.

Can ANYONE back up these statements with something other than 'I see it all the time'? I'm curious of the NFL's stance on this one way or the other. I've always assumed that the league didn't want their logos used period. However, there's no doubt that a large number of them are used, and that a large number of them are re-colored as well.

Is there a source on this? I'd even accept the word of some of the more connected members. Other people, not so much.

no, the NFL dosent allow anyone to use their logos. the reason you "see it all the time" is simply because the NFL dosent know about it. the NCAA has ben getting better about cracking down on it too, Florida a few years ago put a halt on a school or two for using their logo. the NFL has sued a model for taking pictures in a Giants jersey and selling them in a calender. you think they would allow a school to use one of their own properties? no way

If guys like you and Gothamite say so, I wouldn't doubt your word. I have no particular knowledge of the NFL's stance on these things. But it is difficult to believe the NFL doesn't know about it. If the truly don't know, its because they travel around with blinders on. You literally see recolored NFL logo EVERYWHERE on the high school level. I believe you on what must be the NFL's official take, but they certainly seem to be turning a blind eye.

This school is a stones throw from my in-law's house in Cincinnati... I've been looking at these recolored logos for 15 years... they have them all over the place.

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Note, they've stolen the helmet horns, the norseman head, AND the wordmark! Gold isn't even one of the school colors (red/black/gray), but they use it on the horn, just like Minnesota! My favorite part of their "identity" is the two-tone hair on the norseman. I can't decide if they think his hair is two different colors, or if they think the hair in the back is, instead, some kind of helmet flap.

Yup, my old high school used the Bucs flag on their helmet and it was black on a green helmet.

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I think it looks tacky to use someone elses logo and change the colors and pass it as your own. Can't be hard to find someone to create a logo for cheap

You said the magic word their, bud. Cheap. How much cheaper can you get than free?

If you think logo design is cheap, well, that's where you go with it - to free.

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I would tend to agree with JT but unfortunately most high schools don't have the budget to pay for it. My old high school football coach used to be very outspoken about how the team looked as far as logos and uniforms go. He wanted us to look like a program that lead from the front and not a ripoff of another team. He used to go back and forth with the principal about it. The answer he always got? No money.

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If you don't have money, then just don't have a logo. It works for Cleveland Browns, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, etc.

The "I can't afford it, therefore I'm entitled to just take it" argument just can't win in any circumstance in any court in any country in any world in any solar system in any galaxy in any universe.

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lg_VikingHead.jpg

I wonder if there has ever been a copyright infringement case where the original owner of the logo decided to "evolve" into something new, but the new version was like a previously completed variation done by someone else, and so the original owner could be sued by the original copier.

I doubt it has ever happened like that, but I do know Wisconsin was able to successfully clamp down on Washburn University for using this.

washburnlogo.gif

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I could have sworn we had a thread on this before because this came up last year as well.

We did, and that's when I learned the NFL doesn't care unless the schools start modifying or re-coloring the logos.

I thought the NFL allows schools to use their logos for teams. Unless thats just high school

And in any case, schools are not allowed to alter the logos in any way, including re-colors.

Well that's flat out untrue.

Ahem. ;)

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I know Kansas States' official policy (at least for football) is that if a high school team wants to use their logo, they need to send a dollar a year to the athletic department. In instances where K-State finds out that a team is using the logo without permission, they simply send a polite letter to the school informing them of the policy and asking them to send a dollar.

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In many of these cases, the schools may adopt a logo provided by one of their vendors. Take a look through some various uniform catalogs and you'll come across logos similar, if not identical to, professional and collegiate teams.

It's not fair to penalize the schools when they are using artwork believed to be legal. If I were the A.D. of a school, I'd assume that if it's in the catalog provided to me from the vendor, then fair use comes into play.

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Note, they've stolen the helmet horns, the norseman head, AND the wordmark! Gold isn't even one of the school colors (red/black/gray), but they use it on the horn, just like Minnesota! My favorite part of their "identity" is the two-tone hair on the norseman. I can't decide if they think his hair is two different colors, or if they think the hair in the back is, instead, some kind of helmet flap.

well if you live by Princeton then you should know that most of there kids are used to stealing....but there colors are actually just red and gray with yellow accents

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I know that as far as colleges go, it just depends. Some schools (Wisconsin, FSU, Penn State, etc.) are more proactive about going after schools that use their marks. Other schools don't care. It really just varies by school. Unfortunately for schools, it's a tough thing to constantly monitor.

Plus, it's a fine line you have to walk. On one hand you want to protect your trademarks, on the other you don't want to be seen as a big school bully, picking on high schools with no money. I think that's why some schools rather just let it go. When you bring the in-state recruiting factor into play, I think schools would prefer not be seen as bullies. When they do force them to stop using their marks, they typically give them a few years to phase them out.

As far as the recoloring is concerned, it's a moot point. If you're using someone else's logo without their permission anyway, the fact that you tweaked a color or two in the process is irrelevant.

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