I was recently designing a website for a client and went to create some custom design graphics, altering the FB logo and the Twitter logo. I didn't want to get hit with any legal issues so I did some research on Twitter and Facebook's websites and found that they stated that:
- Make sure the logo faces the proper direction
- You must maintain the color
- Not use the symbol in place of text, i.e. in a sentence, "check out our <Facebook logo image> Page"
- and some others
I even wrote them, just in case I misinterpreted protocol, and they told me I couldn't alter the logos.
That being said, I always see logo adaptations out there. So my question is, is there some loop hole I am missing that enables designers/developers to create similar images to a brand logo or are they just going to get fined in the future?
No, what you are seeing is not a loophole. It's almost certainly ignorance on the part of the designer. The majority of designers are not as assiduous as you are. They didn't bother to check the terms and conditions, and they certainly didn't bother to contact Facebook, etc. for clarification. They just went ahead with the modified logos.
Of course, that doesn't mean they will "get fined in the future". They might well get away with it, if only because Facebook, etc. have bigger fish to fry.
But my advice to you would be not to risk it. Just use the correct, unmodified logos according to the terms of service. It's not as if modifying the logos would provide any substantial benefit to your client. And it would be very embarrasing to yourself if Facebook or one of the others did take action against you.
I did figure I would err on the side of caution, on the odd and rare chance that they sent me some form of fine. I suppose it is true, they do have bigger fish to fry and how much paper work it would be to send individual websites copyright related fines.
Just to add one point ...
There's no question of the company fining you. No company - even big and powerful ones like Facebook and Google - has the power to issue a fine. Only the courts can do that, and only in the event of a criminal prosecution. In this case, the worst that the companies can do is to sue you, in which case you would have to pay damages if they win, which is not the same as a fine.
Of course, it wouldn't come to that. If the company did decide to take action against you (which is unlikely but not impossible), they would start by demanding that you remove the offending logo, which you would of course agree to do.
Thank you for clarifying that. Being sued, was what I meant by fines, but I was being misleading with the wrong choice of words.
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