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Copywrites, Trade Marks and Restricted Material

You should be aware of the legal issues involving copyrighted, trademarked and restricted materials.  Nonprofit IT Resources does not present this material as definitive or legally binding and does not accept responsibility for its accuracy.  The purpose of the information on this page is to sensitize the client to the issues involved so that they may further explore legal counsel if necessary.

Use of any item directly or indirectly mentioned on this website will presume that the client has addressed these issues and all legal matters have been satisfied to their satisfaction for its use.

Copyright ...
A copyright is a form of protection provided to the creators of original works by the laws of the creator's resident country.  Through International Treaties, copyright owners have the exclusive right to reproduce or modify their copyrighted work. They may grant permission to others who wish to reproduce the copyrighted work. Photographers, artists, authors, software developers, architects, publishers, singers, writers and composers are examples of copyright owners.

Copywriter owners may place a copywrite notice (for example "© 2013
Nonprofit IT Resources") on their works. However, this notice may not be required under the law. Works are still considered copyright-protected without depicting a copywriter notice.

The following is a partial list of copyrightable materials:

  • Graphics

  • Music and Lyrics

  • Plays

  • Sculptures

  • Newspapers

  • Screenplays

  • Photographs

  • Magazines

  • Videotapes

  • Cartoon

  • Trade Journals

  • DVDs

  • Maps

  • Books

  • Cassettes

  • Blueprints

  • Newsletters

  • Phonograph Records

  • Architectural Renderings

  • Computer Programs

  • Choreographic Works

Please note that mere ownership of a physical book, manuscript, painting, photograph, computer software program or a copy of such items does not give the possessor of these items copyright ownership or the right to copy or modify them.

A special word about professional photographs. It is illegal for anyone to reproduce or assist in reproducing, in any manner or media, a professional photograph without the express written permission of the copyright owner, usually the photographer that took the photograph, or studio that hired the photographer.

Just like any other copyright-protected works, the photographer has the exclusive right to reproduce or modify their photographs. Please note that mere ownership of a copy or print of a professional photograph does not give you the right to copy or modify it. You have simply purchased the photograph hot ownership of the copyright.

For more information regarding copyrights, contact the United States Copyright Office at 1.202.707.3000.

Trademark ... Names, words, logos and designs used to identity services or products are considered trademarks or service marks. The owner of a trademark of service mark has the exclusive right to use or reproduce it.  For example, the name “Microsoft” is a trademark and no one else can use it without Microsoft's written permission.

For more information regarding trademarks, contact the United States Patent and Trademark Office at 1.800.786.9199.

Restricted Material ... Materials that are of monetary value, negotiable instruments, or items that can be used for identification purposes are considered restricted materials. Care must be exercised in reproducing such items since prohibitions or restrictions may exist. For example, items may be reproduced but not at their original size or in color.

The following is a partial list of restricted materials:

  • Paper Currency

  • Gold Certificates

  • Immigration Papers

  • Traveler's Checks

  • Bonds

  • School Transcripts

  • Money Orders

  • Register Receipts/Tapes

  • Parking Permits

  • Internal Revenue Stamps

  • Passports

  • Driver's Licenses

  • Postage Stamps

  • Badges

  • Identification Cards

  • Treasury Notes

  • Birth Certificates

  • Transportation Tickets

  • Bonds

  • Diplomas

  • Signatures

For more information regarding restricted materials, contact the United States Treasury Department, Bureau of Engraving/Printing at 1.202.874.3019.

Other helpful telephone numbers for copyrighted, trademarked and restricted materials:


Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)

1.978.750.8400

Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

1.800.786.6277

U. S. Postal Service, Stamp Services

1.800.275.8777

Christian Copyright, Licensing International

1.800.234.2446

Recording for the Blind

1.800.221.4792

Braille Institute

1.800.BRAILLE

Software & Information Industry Association

1.202.289.7442

American Institute of Architects

1.202.626.7300

Associated Press

1.212.621.1500

Thomas Brothers Maps

1.800.899.MAPS

Primary sources:  FedExKinko pamphlet “Copyrights and Trademarks” and Walmart pamphlet “Copyright Policy and You.”

The above information is not exhaustive for the topics covered.  You are encouraged to see legal advice for specific issues relating to your situation.