Let's encrypt logo - is it copyrighted?


#1

Hello,

For the LET’S ENCRYPT logotype, what licence is it published under?

In particular, can the logotype be freely reused; if so, then with or without attribution? If not, then what national law should apply?

There is a discussion on Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons whether the LE logotype should be marked as public domain (ineligible for copyright), or it is indeed protected by copyright.

Regards,
k.


#2

Logos are usually affected by trademark considerations, not copyright restrictions.


#3

I’m sorry not to be able to give a simple answer, but since we don’t want anyone to be confused about whether particular services, website, or code are provided by Let’s Encrypt or not, there may be greater restrictions applicable to the use of our logo, as opposed to our source code which is available under familiar free and open source software licenses.

If the Wikipedia users involved in this discussion need a formal response, I can arrange to put them in touch with ISRG’s lawyers.


#4

Fortunately I am not a lawyer but I would think that the logo should should be considered a trademark as it it specific to a product or service. Therefore reuse of it for the promotion or reference to this site and/or its services would obviously be permissible.
Using all or part of it for anything not pertaining to the site or service would be at least questionable if not illegal.

At least that is how I would deal with that question. I doubt any company would fuss over ones use if it was in direct reference to them.


#5

Oh yes there are companies that very much would object and take legal action if necessary to prohibit the use by third parties. Not going to name names but I know personally and first hand about at least one such company that does not allow their logo to be used in any third party promotional material without permission. One of the reasons is that for a variety of reasons they may not what that association with the third party.

For instance lets say someone were to place your logo on a website with highly controversial and very offensive content. You might not want that association. Kind of like a company choosing what TV, sports events, etc. they sponsor via their advertising budget.


#6

And I would argue that if the content of the site showing that logo were doing it with any respect I would say the vast majority of companies that would object have PR/product issues and way too many lawyers trying justify their jobs.

I was of course referring to a review site or other opinion-based site that used the logo as part of a link to the specific site.


#7

And my point isn’t whether they will or won’t. But that they can and some do.

As for the PR/product and too many lawyers opinion, it really has no bearing as it is within their right to operate that way if they choose and does not detract from their right to protect their logo.


#8

Hi folks,

I know that online trademark and copyright issues are an interesting and important thing to discuss, but I don’t think that they’ll add much of use to readers of this forum right now. Since Wikimedia has its own set of policies for how and when they consider it appropriate to try to use particular logos and images on Wikimedia project sites, I’d encourage everyone to take that discussion over there.

Again, if you need to be put in contact with an ISRG lawyer to get an official ISRG legal view about something, please let me know and I can try to arrange that.


#9

Hi @schoen,

Yes, this is sort of an important issue, there are various implications depending on whether your logo is covered by copyright or not.

To be specific, a user has uploaded your logo to Wikimedia Commons, which by definition is a source of open or public domain imagery, always licensed for free reuse. If it stays there, you will soon encounter your logo all over the internet. I have tagged the Commons image for deletion for now, but an opinion of your lawyers would be important in the deletion discussion there:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Deletion_requests/File:Let’s_Encrypt_logo.svg

@NOYB: Usage of a logo for identification purposes, as in an encyclopaedia, is allowed under US law without the need of permission.


#10

It would be nice if a legal response could be obtained from ISRG lawyers.


#11

I hope to get some kind of official organizational response from ISRG. It appears to me that the logo does not belong on Wikimedia Commons.


#12

As a followup, ISRG’s Executive Director replied to the deletion discussion on Commons and asked for the logo to be removed because it is not in the public domain. ISRG will work on a policy publicly describing its views about appropriate uses of the logo and other materials.

@kashmiri, thank you for letting us know about this.


#13

Is there a usage policy for the letsencrypt logo?

We’d like to include the padlock sign in our administration backend to mark hosts that are configured for auto-renewing letsencrypt-certs. As our webinterface source code is free software, this would lead to publish a small rendered version of the logo in our code repository. I could not find any public statement if such use is allowed or not.


Let's Encrypt 'badge' for websites?
#14

I’m interested in an update on this matter too as I’d like to use a small Let’s Encrypt logo on my website to link to this project.

Thank you!


#15

I’d be interested in proper useage guidelines as well. I’m currently using the logo in a powered by context and assume it’s fine unless somebody makes an official statement telling me otherwise.


Let's Encrypt 'badge' for websites?
#16

Usage guidelines will be coming very soon, thanks for your interest!


#17

Hi everyone…

…I was wondering if there has been any progress on the guidelines mentioned above.

We would like to integrate Let’s Encrypt in our appliance and allow for automatic
retrieval of certificates.

Like mentioned by someone else we also would like to mark the Let’s Encrypt
certifcates with the Let’s encrypt logo and also the Menu-Point where the configuration
of those certificates is initiated…

Tobias


#18

See this topic


#19

I don’t see that those topics really have much in common - this topic here asks for usage of the logo for (internal)
admin-interfaces and not for promoting the security of a public webpage…


#20

My understanding from the above is that the Let’s Encrypt logo is a trademark, and the logo can not be used ( for any purposes, internal or external) without express permission, which has not been provided. In fact there has been a general request to remove any Let’s Encrypt logos.

Maybe I’m missing something, the question of the topic is

“Let’s Encrypt - is it copyrighted”

and your question was

“we also would like to mark the Let’s Encrypt certifcates with the Let’s encrypt logo”.

The response from LE was regarding

" a badge containing ISRG trademarks like the Let’s Encrypt logo"

tells me that the logo is trademarked / copyrighted

" we can’t allow people to use our logo like this without our permission. " and “I have to ask that you remove it.”

tells me that permission to use has not been granted. It doesn’t say remove only from “public web pages”, So personally I think that information is relevant