Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Registered Logos

So, you've all seen it: The Registered Trademark® symbol.


Well, you're not supposed to use any image with that symbol next to it without permission. Like, anywhere.

Technically, MTV could get mad at me for ripping off their logo yesterday. In fact, they should come tell me to take it down "...or else...".

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, let's say that someone at MTV felt that this was a rather pathetic site and they didn't want associated with them. The fact that I have their logo on my site may make a curious person--browsing the net for information about MTV--happen across my site. Since I have their logo on my site, I would, in that case, be using their logo to get more traffic. Since they hypothetically don't like me much, they wouldn't want my logo anywhere near my site.

But if their logo was all over the internet and used by millions without their consent, a judge would say, "Well, why didn't you protect your trademark from all those sites? Why are you picking on this Luke guy? You're discriminating against him, and he can leave that image on his site."

Then MTV could come give me a bunch of money in exchange for me taking down the logo and hope I never pull a stunt like that again.

That example is a little far-fetched and you may still be wondering: So what? Who cares?

Let's say that you registered a trademark for Legos, a toy that millions of children--and adults like me--enjoy. People start raving about how much they love their Legos and so start posting pictures of your logo on their blogs all linking back to you.

Nothing could be cooler, right?


Until a site dedicated to selling illegal substances to children decides to put Legos' logo on their site, attract billions of children in the hopes of getting them all hooked on highly addictive and destructive chemicals.

Wait, you don't want that! So you take this site to court, but the judge says that you didn't protect your trademark, and you can't stop this site from using it.

Oh noes!

Oh, yes.

And, yes, I can follow that logic.

What I don't understand is how much that logic really holds up since when people search for things, they google the name and not the logo. ...and there's little you can do if someone typed out the name Lego on their site.

Thus, I still maintain: This world is mad.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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