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Did they have copyright in 629?
April 24, 2007 11:59 AM   Subscribe

At the bottom of this list of available emblems of belief for veteran's headstones two symbols, the christian scientist cross and crown and the muslim five pointed star, are said to be not shown due to copyright. What's up with that?

I can see the christian scientists, being new-ish, perhaps having a copyright on their symbols. But the muslim star copyrighted?

Also, how does copyright let you put a symbol on a tombstone, talk about that symbol on a tombstone, but not show on your website about symbols for tombstones that particular symbol on a tombstone?

And if anyone wants to discuss the various interesting/esoteric faiths listed at the above link, I don't mind the slight hijack. I was surprised to see the moravian lamb listed, due to my personal connection.
posted by thecjm to Law & Government (7 answers total)
 
I would guess that the specific designs they use for those emblems are copyrighted and they haven't been given permission to reproduce them on the web. They probably pay some sort of license fee for using them on tombstones.
posted by Good Brain at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2007




Smackfu's link (above) links to a patent application for a "Star and crescent structure and method thereof," a diagram of which is visible on this USPTO page.

I don't know if that's what the VA is talking about, and I also don't know if the star and crescent device can be patented independently of the associated device (given our screwed-up IP system, probably), but it's one thought.

I have a feeling that the VA is just being overcautious; I can't imagine anyone could really have a trademark or copyright on a generic Muslim symbol, if that's what it really is.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:37 PM on April 24, 2007


What's strange is that the Star and Crescent are listed earlier in that list. I'm not familiar with any sects in Islam that only use a 5 pointed star. This could be a simple mistake on the part of the VA who only God knows how many simple and compound mistakes they've made over the years.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:01 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Druze (sometimes incorrectly called an Islamic sect) have a five pointed star for an emblem. I doubt they have a US copyright, and even more down that any Druze have been given US military burials, but stranger things have happened.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:07 PM on April 24, 2007


Also, how does copyright let you put a symbol on a tombstone, talk about that symbol on a tombstone, but not show on your website about symbols for tombstones that particular symbol on a tombstone?

Copyright means you can do whatever the copyright holder says you can do. (Plus some certain additional things, regardless of whether the copyright holder allows it or not.) If I've written a novel, and I say, "you can reprint and sell it on yellow paper, but not on white paper; you can republish it on a website if the domain name starts with a vowel, but not if the domain name starts with a consonant," then, guess what? You can legally reprint and sell it on yellow paper, but not on white paper. You can legally republish it on edomain.com, but not on mydomain.com. The copyright holder doesn't have to have a rational basis for what he allows and doesn't allow.

More likely, in this case, the copyright holder sent a letter to the VA requesting that the emblem be available for use on veterans' tombstones (and thus implicitly granting permission for that use), but didn't explicitly grant the VA permission to use the symbol on their website, and the VA hasn't bothered to ask them permission to use it on their website - even though one might well imagine that the copyright holder would grant permission if the VA requested it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:09 PM on April 24, 2007


I am surprised they did not put the copyright info beside the United Methodist logo.
posted by 4ster at 8:14 PM on April 24, 2007


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