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Thread: Using the exact colors of a well-known company - a posible breach of copyright?

  1. #21

    It's copyrighted?

    Red, white, and blue is copyrighted? Someone better tell Marvel Comics to give Captain America a different suit (not to mention rework about half the flags in Europe).

  2. #22
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    YES-YOU CAN COPYRIGHT / TRADEMARK COLORS

    IM WRITING IN CAPSLOCK, HOPING TO STAND OUT HERE FOR THE SAKE OF CONFUSION ON THIS PAGE. YES, YOU CAN COPYRIGHT COLORS, SHAPES (BOTH 2 AND 3 DIMESNIONAL), SMELLS, ETC.

    COCA-COLA HAS COPYRIGHTED THE SHAPE OF ITS BOTTLE
    CADBURYS HAS COPYRIGHTED THE SHADE OF PURPLE IT USES TO SELL ITS BAR SHAPED CHOCOLATE BARS... SO HAS TOBLORONE, AND CASES HAVE BEEN LOST WHEN PEOPLE HAVE IMITATED, OR COME CLOSE TO REPLICATING THOSE COLORS AND SHAPES.

    I CANT OFFER YOU A GUARENTEED YES OR NO, BUT I WOULD SAY ITS SAFE TO COPY ANY BASIC COLOR SCHEME, SO LONG AS YOU ARE NOT IN THE SAME LINE OF WORK AS THE COMPANY OR PERSON YOU ARE IMITATING.

    IT WOULD BE RATHER IGNORANT THAT SOMEONE INSIST ON COPYING SOMEONE ELSES COLOR SCHEME, IF YOU ARE IN THE SAME INDUSTRY AS THEM, AND, YOU COULD POSSIBLY FACE LEGAL ACTION, EVEN IF THEY HAVE NOT REGISTERED A TRADEMARK FOR THAT SAID COLOR SCHEME.

    IN SUMMARY, YES. YES EVERYTHING CAN BE TRADEMARKED, EVEN A SOLID COLOR, IN RELATION TO A PRODUCT OR SERVICE. TELL YOUR CLIENT TO GIVE YOU A SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE YOU PROCEED, AND IF HAS ANY SENSE AT ALL, HE'LL RETHINK HIS COLORSCHEME BEFORE COPYING A MAJOR PLAYER... WELL, IF THEYRE IN THE SAME INDUSTRY THAT IS.

    ROB OWEN-WAHL, MD
    DESIGNFISH STUDIO LID
    http://www.DESIGNFISHSTUDIO.COM


  3. #23
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    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    …What happens if I like red and white? - Does that mean I owe some payment to the Red Cross? The Polish national football team? Ludicrous…

    When you get down to it, are there any original color cominations left to work with? I'm guessing not…
    No, I disagree. It's not all been done before. There are infinite color combinations. If you are talking in the broadest of general terms of primary categories, yes. But keep in mind, the traditional way of formulating a single color includes hue (what basic color pigment it is), value (how much black is in it), and saturation (how intense). And there are still more ways of rationalizing color.

    So that in mind your red and white gets pretty complicated. But whatever technology you are designing for, even the most limited color palettes--the red, green, blue for screen presentation, and the cyan, magenta, yellow, black for print--put you're best number crunching technology to the task because you will find there is what is known in aesthetic circles as "inexaustability by contrast." That means your computer will tire before you achieve a finite number of color combos, especially if you are talking three colors.

    Personally, "lifting" a color palette isn't something I would do, but I'm a formally trained designer. I operate predominately inductively because individual creativity is my overiding value. I can see the flip side of the coin where someone can justify operating deductively by appreciating and continuing an established aesthetic.

    The original poster's color predicament is not, pardon the pun, black and white. Intellectual and aesthetic law is rarely enforced because it appreciates very little protection due to its subjective nature.
    [Edited by Emigdula on 06-09-2002 at 11:29 AM]

  4. #24
    Gross Pecululatarian Ed Mack's Avatar
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    So can we get sued by un-knowingly copying someone else's colours?

    And since everything you make is copyright to you, can I instantly sue others? I don't like the sound of this whole thing.

  5. #25
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    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    Now what's up with the proliferation of blue and orange sites, etc?? Riddle me that, guys and girls. I know that they're opposites on the color wheel and opposites are supposed to match, but when did it become so 'cool'?
    Just a BTW: Johanns Itten, the most influential "colorists", claimed blue and orange to be the most spiritual of color combinations. I have found this to be true. Hopefully it doesn't become overused.

  6. #26

    Re: YES-YOU CAN COPYRIGHT / TRADEMARK COLORS

    Originally posted by voodoodonkey
    IM WRITING IN CAPSLOCK, HOPING TO STAND OUT HERE FOR THE SAKE OF CONFUSION ON THIS PAGE.
    ...


    hey donkey...do us all a favor. Next time you want to stand out, try it with the content of your post.
    net-iquette has evolved to it's current state for a reason. we consider CAPS to be 'yelling', and further, it is considered agressive. You understood that before you posted, otherwise you would not have explained yourself. Quite simply, you are only opening yourself to ridicule.

    remember, you can be as eloquent as you like, but if you are an ass, no-one cares. ugly is ugly in any language.

    peace.
    ~kr0m3

  7. #27
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    Oh my god! The software manual I produced last month was printed in black and white! The EXACT colour scheme that was used in the 1961 printing of Ian Fleming's 'Fireball'! Penguin Books is going to go 'goldfinger' on me!

    OK, I'm mocking a serious issue, but this really doesn't seem that complicated to me:

    The US postal service isn't going to be suing anybody for using Red, White & Blue unless they're using the exact pantone colours that the posties are using.

    And Owens-Corning isn't going to go sue someone who makes their cotton-candy the exact colour of OC's insulation. (Am I the only kid out there who once licked insulation because he thought it was cotton-candy?)

    Once you start to combine colours with design elements, you are looking for trouble. If I were to publish a book that used the same size and orange spine that Penguin Books use, I probably wouldn't get away with it.

    I think you have to ask not only how you're intending to use the colours, but also what the colours mean to the other company.

    Now, the only way you're going to be able to copyright a specific colour is if you get pantone or somebody to design one for you. And this is only possible if the colour does not already exist in some colour company's library. Usually a patone colour cannot be exactly duplicated on the web.

    If you go to the US postal service's website, they trademark and copyright a lot of things, but their website colours are not one of them. And this is probably the easiest way of seeing whether you're going to get into trouble look at the website in question, see if they copyright the colour scheme, and if not, don't worry about it.

    #

    ---------
    The websafe colours #00CCCC and #CCFFFF are copyright of Octothorp. The octothorp character (also known as pound, or number sign) is also copyright of Octothorp.

  8. #28
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    RE: Octothorp's comments

    Originally posted by octothorp
    Am I the only kid out there who once licked insulation because he thought it was cotton-candy?
    Yikes! Sounds like a good argument for copyrighted color schemes.
    Originally posted by octothorp
    Now, the only way you're going to be able to copyright a specific colour is if you get pantone or somebody to design one for you. And this is only possible if the colour does not already exist in some colour company's library. Usually a patone colour cannot be exactly duplicated on the web.
    This is begs a certain question which may be getting in to territory only a lawyer can (and maybe should) answer but, considering there are many companies with color libraries out there, such as Dai Nippon (sp?), who have tremendously larger color libraries compared to Pantone©. Does the applicant for the copyright have to prove the color in question does not exist in any existing library for a given reproduction technology before being granted a copyright? That is quite a burden isn't it? Almost unattainable I would venture.
    Originally posted by octothorp The websafe colours #00CCCC and #CCFFFF are copyright of Octothorp. The octothorp character (also known as pound, or number sign) is also copyright of Octothorp.
    In all due respect, this seems to contradict what you said before. Web safe colors are not produced by a particular company such as Pantone©. No company such as Pantone© created a unique color just for you. The colors you list are more, in my estimation, in the public domain realm, derived more by an extremely limited and narrowly defined technology.

    I am not a lawyer but would predict your success in defending your copyright of a particular color from a palette containing a mere 216 colors fragile. But I think your odds would increase significantly if you were to defend a combination of two colors from that pallette. Add the pound, or number sign and becomes even tighter. But try defending just one of those independantly and you would have your work cut out for you. The whole is more original, and therefore more defendable, than the sum of the parts, so to speak.

    Now, following is an exerpt form "The Thesis Writer's Handbook", by Joan Miller and Bruce Taylor, Alcove Publishing Co., page 44. Please pardon it's focus on writing--I think it pertains equally to design. It's context is American, so I don't know how globally universal it is.

    "The copyright law reserves the author of literary, musical, dramatic, audiovisual, and other creative works, and sound recordings, the exclusive rights to:
    1) reproduce;
    2) prepare derivative works from;
    3) sell or otherwise transfer ownership;
    5) display publicly
    the copyrighted work. If you think you will want to publish your work commercially, write articles derived from its contents, or oterwise try to profit from it, you should obtain a copyright registration. Just keep in mind that receipt of a copyright certificate from the Copyright Office does not mean that the federal government will step in and punish anyone who infringes on your copyright. They only register your claim, recording the fact that you are the first claimant for the work you submit. This simply provides you with a basis to sue anyone who misuses your work."


    So, the way I read that, just because you have a copyright doesn't mean the government neccessarily grants you automatic and unquestionable ownership of said object. What it does do is reserve you a defensible legal position on your claim that you should have that ownership. In attaining a copyright for websafe colours #00CCCC and #CCFFFF, the government recognizes that you claim that they are yours, and will revisit that claim if you later sue someone for infringment. If you were to win, only then would I personally recognize those colors as yours, legally speaking. Ethically, now that is a different story.

  9. #29
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    Re: RE: Octothorp's comments

    Originally posted by Emigdula
    I am not a lawyer but would predict your success in defending your copyright of a particular color from a palette containing a mere 216 colors fragile.
    I agree entirely. I was just making it as a ridiculous claim to demonstrate how absurd the idea of copywriting colours--especially websafe colours--is. I genuinely invite all people to use the above-listed websafe colours and '#' without fear of legal prosecution.

    And you're probably right about the unattainable burden of trying to prove that a colour does not exists already in one of the various libraries, and this is of course complicated by comparing across libraries in different methods of printing and output.

    #

    ------
    Octothorp hereby copyrights the concept of sarcasm and all even integers between 396 and 412.

    [Edited by octothorp on 06-12-2002 at 12:52 AM]

  10. #30
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    Re: Re: RE: Octothorp's comments

    Originally posted by octothorp
    I agree entirely. I was just making it as a ridiculous claim to demonstrate how absurd the idea of copywriting colours--especially websafe colours--is.
    [/B]
    Oh you Octothorp©! You got me. Unintentionally I'm sure, but got me did you nonetheless. BYW, I would like exclusive rights to the number 402©. I am willing to pay substantially over the market value. But now if you'll excuse me I want to get back to chewing my Owens Corning.

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