Copy Right Question

I want to engrave a picture of the Toronto Blue Jays Logo. I downloaded it from a freeware site that said nothing about copy right

How do I find out if I can engrave this logo

I can guarantee you that it is a copyrighted image. Any sports team logo or other business logo will have copyright. Now whether they will pursue it or not is up to them.


The logo was on a freeware site that had logo’s of every sports team you could think of and nothing was said of copyright infringement which I have seen posted on some sites
Am just curious because I know of case where the Molson logo was used and a Molson rep stopped them from engraving it and they got a letter from their lawyer. Just being cautious

You’re asking the wrong question. Artwork such as team and brand logos is protected by trademark law. The particular graphic file may be covered by copyright (and in the case of that logo, I’d say it almost certainly is – either someone copied it directly, or it’s a derivative work).

If it were a completely original drawing that just happened to look like the Blue Jays logo, it wouldn’t matter if the artist put their drawing in the public domain. You still would not be able to use it without permission/licensing as it would still clearly be trademark infringement. Most importantly, when it comes to trademark infringement, the trademark holder cannot simply ignore the infringement or they risk having their trademark invalidated.

(I am not a lawyer, but I’m enough of a rules geek to enjoy learning about things like intellectual property law.)

Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free reign. My rule of thumb is that unless I have licensing from the copyright holder I won’t use it. At least not commercially. I might do something for my own personal use.


Hehe, indeed. I’ve made lots of Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and (alas, for my wife) New Orleans Saints art that I have all over the house. Trademark law doesn’t factor in at all if there’s no trade, after all, and I believe my personal, private, non-commercial use is unquestionably in the fair-use side of the balance.

I’m sure it’s copyright. For me I would use it just for personal use and not sell anything with copyright. But still technically not legal. Just me, but I live in a lawless state were stealing is no big deal.

I can only speak (as an amateur) about US copyright law, but at least here, I’d consider that just fine.

Your personal use would be noncommercial, which would seem to put you on the good side of factor one, and for the factor four test, I imagine your use has pretty much zero effect on “the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work”.

I would have no qualms at all about using a downloaded design from a free site to make things for myself with my lasers. On the other hand, if I wanted to start an Etsy store or sell them at the local farmers’/arts market, that would be a completely different animal (which is why I much prefer to make my own art).

Here’s a bit more reference material.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Copyright basics | USPTO.


No business is going to put a $120/hr lawyer on somebody doing Artist’s market, yard sale or flea market sales. But you list it on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, or Amazon and you will get their attention because the potential for sales is much greater.

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I was going to use it on a baseball serving tray that I am going to make . It would be sold by a small shop that sells spices and related consumables never to go to a market or internet. I am going to check into this a little deeper but I need the Canadian version Thanks for the advice. I’LL post again if I learn anything concert

Yet, it is STILL stealing, and illegal. The low odds of getting caught do not make it less Illegal to do. There are HUGE fines if and when you do get caught. Do the right thing, and do not make things that you do not have rights to do.

True, I cannot argue with what you said.

But, there is another reason companies look the other way for small operators. It is a no-cost promotion of their product. The advertising benefit far exceeds the recovery costs and negative publicity from attacking the little guy.

Common Law is based on common sense. Applying the law absolutely is just plain scarry.

I find it a little interesting that you can’t use any military insignias because they own the rights. Surprised we are allowed to use the flag without infringing on copyright laws.

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Have to agree there… too bad Arizona banned the use of common law for defense of a crime… My common law marriage in Texas, was useless in Arizona and we were illegally co-habituating.

Fortunately they got rid of the co-habitating statute.


There are plenty of instances of copyright holders going after small businesses and crafters. It’s still illegal, and not the right thing to do. I’m not willing to risk my business over something stupid like copyright or trademark theft. You however are more than welcome to risk yours…



Tldr: The use of flags isn’t generally governed by copyright laws, there are other laws for that.
Not to mention common sense.

As for the permission to use a flag, that depends on the flag.
And the symbolism behind that flag.
Not to mention how it’s used as well.

Most countries have several flag variants for different purposes:

Usually the national flag can be used respectfully rather freely.

State flags are more limited in use, obviously, intended to be used only in the affairs of state.

Some countries -like Finland for example- have a special tailed state flag as a war flag, one doesn’t have to be a genius to understand that its use is somewhat limited.

Same goes for the flag of the president.

Said national flags are easy, national laws dictate their use.
Basically a national flag is the property of every individual of the nation.

Union flags are a lot trickier.
The looser the union, the trickier it gets.
Sometimes it seems that there’s no laws, or even common sense involved when applying the flag design onto everything and anything imaginable.
And sometimes onto things no-one should imagine to use any flag design, no matter what it represents.

Even though possibly the loosest of the bigger unions of the western world, EU and its flag is way too young to have been soiled too badly, yet.

UK flag has been pretty well protected and its use governed throughout its history as well.

And then there’s the flag of USA.
IMO only of course, but the ever increasing over-use of it in every shape and form has diluted its intended symbolism badly, and that’s truly a shame for any flag.



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Read this

And that’s just one of many. There are companies out there that will go after anyone and everyone. I’ve seen instances of people that have sold one or two items, and gotten cease and desist letters. In the end, it’s still illegal. You really need to know what copyright and trademark laws are, and the consequences if you get caught. It can be up to $10,000 PER occurrence.

Too bad I don’t have a subscription to Bloomberg Law - :poop:

I doubt it’ll go to court, the dealer will end up paying what HD wants.

I’m confident the people who bought these from a licensed HD dealer were clueless they were fakes.

If you wish to use other peoples artwork, make money, and there is no recompense to the creator it will be a problem somewhere down the line.

If you buy them from someone, there is usually more than just a price if you want to make money off them. I use a number of them that I paid low money for, but part of the deal is I have to give credit to the creator when it’s used commercially. However, many consider limited or unlimited license for commercial use is substantially more expensive.

Another area people get stung is using government logos or graphics, actually anyones logo …

This is the Marine Corp logo, brand or emblem usage guide… Notice the full color logo is size restricted.

USMC_brand_guide2009.pdf.txt (2.4 MB)

Use common sense, if you created it and it put food on your table, then someone made a fake copy, resulting in your kids being hungry from less food on the table … any normal person would feel ripped off by the person that created the fake.

In simple term, when money becomes involved … larger amount of money … greater change of the courts getting involved.

In 1991 the band Nirvana created a smiley face shirt. From the Smiley Face Wiki, in the Ownership and alternative smileys

2021 Marc Jacobs makes this shirt…

Nirvana sued Mark Jacobs for copyright infringement.

There’s a smiley face wiki that addresses a couple cases of copyright infringement cases… Infringement suits are all over the internet.

The sad fact is, in a vast majority of cases, when you go to court both sides losses to some extent. Not to mention, sometimes it takes decades. Only winners are the legal counsel. Best advise, take the simple route and stay out of the court system.

If you wish to run a business, then you need to abide by law and run your business in accordance to those law. If you don’t know these laws and you own a business, you might want to engage an attorney.


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