Friday, February 13, 2009

Q&A: Can I Use a Company's Logo in a Blog Post?

A reader asked me earlier this week: "How do I make sure an image or logo I pull from the Internet (to use on my blog) is not infringing on copyright?"

Great question, isn't it? U.S. Copyright law says that when you use a trademarked item for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching..., scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright" but is considered fair use. Fair use is determined, in part, by "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

On my blogs, I use a company' s logo if what I'm posting is is positive (i.e. if it has the potential of driving traffic to the company's website, generating sales for the company, etc.). I wouldn't post a company's logo if I were giving a bad review of it. In three years I've never been contacted by anyone and asked to take a logo down.

How about you? How do you determine whether or not to use a logo on your blog?

Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer. I'm just a blogger.