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Photos of people wearing logos

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:23 pm
by JamesLondon
I play a game whereby if I see a supporter of a football team in the street, I take a photo of that person in his or her shirt, scarf etc. I send it to a friend who has to name that team.

I would like to make a website with this content, possibly making a quiz out of it. I would not reveal any individual's face. Sometimes a club logo is clear on the photo, sometimes it is not so clear. The photo will usually be of club merchandise, which may or may not include the logo. Sometimes fans leave stickers in public with the club logo or some clue as to who the club may be.

I am not sure about the copyright infringement implications.

Any help will be much appreciated.

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:11 pm
by AndyJ
Hi James

If this involved any other clothing than football shirts, I would say this would be fine. Although there might be a technical infringement of the copyright in the logo of, say, a manufacturer like Ralph Lauren, no manufacturer would be concerned about it because the whole point of putting their emblem on the clothing is for the publicity and brand awareness it brings.

However the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) and some of their member clubs have earned themselves a reputation for protecting their intellectual property with what one might call single-mindedness bordering on greed. There have been several cases (such as FAPL v Panini, FAPL, Arsenal FC and LUFC v LCD Publishing Ltd and Arsenal FC v Reed) in which copyright in the FAPL emblem or club emblem/name has been successfully invoked against commercial entities who have sought to engage with football fans in various ways.

The Panini case is worth a look because it has the most similar facts to your proposed game, although I appreciate that you are not necessarily wishing to use the FAPL logo, just the club badges.

You might be lucky and not come in conflict with the clubs, but I think that as soon as they think you are making some money from your game, there's a fair chance of a lawyer's letter arriving on the doormat.

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:32 am
by JamesLondon
Thanks a lot. I'll have a look at the Panini case. A lot of the clubs will be lower league or from other countries so they might do things a little differently anyway. I don't really want to get to close to Premier League clubs.