Is there any standard for how an artist can indicate that a signature, copyright, trademark, logo, etc., is intended to be taken as part of a piece of art, and not as a genuine expression of authenticity?

For example, suppose an arbitrary individual is making custom Hallmark card designs, not for commercial use, but just to post online, and wants to include the Hallmark logo to make them look more realistic. Is there a short symbol or string of letters they can mark the logo with to distinguish the custom cards from authentic Hallmark cards, analogous to how sic is used within a quotation to convey some higher-level meaning about the accuracy of the quotation, but is understood not to be part of the quotation itself?

Similarly for an arbitrary individual using a famous artist's signature in a painting made in their style, art which includes copyright information printed on it (custom Yu-Gi-Oh! cards), etc.?

1 Answer 1

  • There is the Fair Use logo: enter image description here

    According to Wikipedia,

    Fair use is a doctrine in United States law that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. Fair use is one of the limitations to copyright intended to balance the interests of copyright holders with the public interest in the wider distribution and use of creative works by allowing as a defense to copyright infringement claims certain limited uses that might otherwise be considered infringement.

    I cannot speak to the legal percussions of your use; for that you might want to ask over at Law.SE, but this seems to answer your question.
    (I am pretty sure that pure imitation is usually illegal. For personal use it's tolerated, but for commercial use a logo such as this, or writing something like "no copyright infringement intended", won't change anything.)

  • Another option to imitate a brand like Hallmark is to change the wording or the style slightly ('Hellmark' and the like). That way you might more easily circumvent getting sued. And humour ensues.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .