National Flags

Advice for those new to the concepts of copyright
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National Flags

Post by Sportsboardgames123 »


I'm designing some sports board games I wanted to think about ways of representing different teams. Are national flags protected by copyright?
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Re: National Flags

Post by AndyJ »

Hi sportsboardgames,

No, in general national flags and emblems are not protected by copyright. However there are a couple of exceptions which you should be aware of, in case they have implications for your game. The first is the flag of the indigenous people of Australia. This flag was designed by Harold Thomas and he recently sold the copyright in the flag to the Australian government. In principle the intention of the deal was to make use of the flag freely available, but it seems that Mr Thomas has also made licensing deals with at least one clothing company which now means that there are some limitations over use of the flag for some commercial purposes, although this appears to be mainly where clothing is concerned.

The second category concerns the flags and emblems of the International Olympic Committee. While this is not technically a copyright issue, these symbols are protected by an international treaty (the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol) which has been transposed into the domestic law of the signatory countries. In the UK this occurred through the Olympic Symbol Protection Act 1995.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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