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Fair Use Question of the Month: Art from Logos

planeDear CMSI,

I am mounting an exhibition that involves art that features reproductions of many corporate logos. Do I have to license all these logos? And do I have to blur them out on the images representing the exhibition on my website?



Dear Shira,

Good news - you don’t have to worry about the logos at all from a copyright viewpoint. Logos are protected by trademark law, which is concerned with protecting the commercial value of a mark from competitors, not with artistic reproduction. As long as exhibition doesn’t confuse the public about who owns the logos or suggest an endorsement by the owner of the mark, you’re good to go.

If you have any other copyright concerns, you can consult the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts to see what else your peers have to say about permissions and fair use.