Football badges in a quiz copyright?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Football badges in a quiz copyright?

Post by missygee »

What is the copyright law on football (soccer) team badges? If I were to make a quiz game using the football team badges of the top teams of the world, would this be breaking the law?
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi missygee,
Yes there will almost certainly be copyright in most footbal club badges, as artistic works. This will apply even in the case of long-established teams such as Arsenal because they tend to update the design periodically, which recreates a new copyright each time.
But probably of more importance is the fact that virtually all the badges will also be registered as Trade Marks either here in the UK or across Europe (these are known as Community Trade Marks). Here, for instance, is just one of several registrations for the Manchester United badge. If you scroll down the list of goods and services for that particular registration you will find it covers games generally and in particular computer games.
So that pretty much prevents you from using these badges in a commercial venture without permission. You don't say what you want to do with your game, but I assume this would be something you wanted market. Obviously if it was just for your own personal amusement and not available to the public, that would be a different matter.
I suggest your first point of contact for getting licences to use the badges in this way would be the clubs themselves. You might want to start with the FAPL as they deal with a number of intellectual property issues on behalf of the Barclays Premier League clubs in England, and from there you could move to the FA more generally, then the SFA etc.
The FAPL are very litigous in protecting their rights. There was a important case in 2003 in which the manufacturer of football stickers was successfully sued for not getting permission to include the FA's badges which were shown on the shirts of the players featured on the stickers.
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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