Access Now Trademarks, Copyright and Media Usage Policy
Update: July 27 2020
Welcome to the Access Now Trademarks, Copyright, and Media Usage Policy. This policy is designed to answer the most common questions we receive regarding use of Access Now’s trademarks and copyrighted media material, to provide our community with clear guidance, and to enable you to make certain uses of our trademarks, media, and brands without the need to seek our individual, written permission in each instance.
Nothing in this Policy is intended to limit any right you may have to use Access Now’s trademarks in a manner that is otherwise allowed by law, including to criticize Access Now or to parody our organization or our work.
What is a Copyright?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation. The original author or owner of a work has a copyright for both published and unpublished works. Copyright infringement may occur when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Use of Access Now’s Copyright and Media Material
Our website (and the content contained therein) includes images, symbols, icons, graphics, and logos from a variety of sources (hereinafter referred to as “Media Material”). Any and all original Media Material on the Access Now website may be freely licensed and distributed at will under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 International License, unless otherwise noted. All Media Material that is not original to Access Now may require permission from the copyright holder to redistribute.
Access Now’s Use of Third Party Media Material
Although reasonable efforts are made to attribute copyright to the original author of any Media Material, in a reasonable manner, in some cases, particularly where attribution would be unreasonable, Media Material may be used with incomplete or without any attribution. Contact us with any questions or concerns about usage of third party material.
What are Trademarks?
Trademarks are best thought of as a type of consumer protection law: they help those seeking goods and services efficiently differentiate one supplier from another. The term “trademark” includes any word, name, symbol, or device – or any combination of those – that is used by a person or entity to identify and distinguish their goods and services from those offered by others, and to indicate the source or origin of their goods and services. In the US and many other countries, there is no requirement to register a trademark with the government before claiming rights in the mark.
So, for example, you can tell if your computer operating system originated in Redmond or in Cupertino by referencing the operating system’s trademark and branding; and neither Microsoft nor Apple can adopt the brands of the other, because such use would typically cause confusion among consumers. The same can be said for the distinct name, color and font associated with convenience stores around the world operating under the 7‑Eleven® trademark — consumers can identify and recognize these convenience stores as a result of their unique branding.
What are Access Now’s Trademarks?
Access Now’s trademarks are all trademarks owned or used by Access Now, including but not limited to:
- our Access Now™ trademark
- our RightsCon™ trademark
- our Access Now logo design trademark
- our various RightsCon logos design trademarks
RightsCon 2011 – 2017:
RightsCon 2018 – 2020:
- our Digital Security Helpline logo design trademark
- our #KeepItOn logo design trademark*
- our #WhyID logo design trademark**
This list may be updated as other trademarks are created or registered.
* Note: this trademark does not include the hashtag (#KeepItOn), which is a public and collaborative coalition-driven campaign, but merely covers our unique design elements.
** Note: this trademark does not include the hashtag (#WhyID), which is a public and collaborative coalition-driven campaign, but merely covers our unique design elements.
In Which Situations May I Use Access Now’s Trademarks?
To Truthfully Identify Access Now and Our Programs and Services
Consistent with our position favoring the free exchange of ideas and information, and favoring limitations on the ability of trademark owners to stifle speech with which they disagree, nothing in this Policy is intended to limit any rights you may have to use Access Now’s trademarks in a manner that is otherwise allowed by law.
For example, trademark law (including pursuant to the “nominative fair use” doctrine) allows you to make non-trademark use of Access Now’s trademarks to truthfully refer to or identify Access Now and its products and services. So, you don’t need our permission to write about why you love (or hate) our advocacy work, to inform others of our campaigns, or the like.
Your intended use may be a nominative fair use if:
- it’s not easy to identify the product or company without using a mark (e.g., using the term “Chicago Bulls” instead of “the basketball team that plays in Chicago” is acceptable);
- only so much is used as is necessary to identify the product or company and to accomplish your purpose; and
- you do nothing to suggest the mark-owner has endorsed or sponsored your use.
Personal, Non-Commercial Uses on Affinity Products
You may use Access Now’s trademarks without asking our permission on products like t-shirts and stickers that express your affinity for our organization, provided that: (1) your use is non-commercial in nature and you give the products away for free; and (2) your use is not misleading and not likely to cause confusion as to whether Access Now sponsored, endorsed, or was otherwise involved in creating or offering your products.
If you want to sell affinity products (even if you’re just charging a nominal fee to cover your costs), or want to make any other uses not specifically permitted here, you must obtain our written permission first. We will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.
In Which Situations May I NOT Use Access Now’s Trademarks?
In any situation not specifically listed above, and where you are not otherwise legally permitted to do so, you must ask us for permission before using our trademarks. For example, you may not use our Access Now trademarks in the following situations:
Uses that are Confusing, False, or Misleading
You may not use any Access Now trademark in a manner that is false or misleading, or in a manner likely to confuse consumers or the public about the source or origin of your products or services. Confusing uses include uses that may cause people to think your products or services are Access Now’s products or services, or vice versa, or that may imply a formal affiliation between you and Access Now where none exists. Unless we have done so in writing, Access Now has not officially sponsored or endorsed your product or service, and you should not imply that we have.
You may not use Access Now’s trademarks in, or as a part of, any trade name, trademark, domain name, or internet account name that is likely to cause confusion. So, for example, the business name or trademark “Access Now Activist Tool,” or the Twitter handle “@AccessNowActivistTool,” are not permitted, because folks who see those uses are likely to assume that they are official Access Now services or accounts, or to assume that their owner is officially sponsored or endorsed by Access Now. By the same token, for example, the domain name “Access-Now-Activist-Tools.com,” or the Facebook group “Access Now Activist Tools,” would also be likely to cause confusion.
That said, the purpose of trademark law is to address confusion, and uses that misleadingly suggest affiliation where none exists: not to silence legitimate criticism, commentary, or parody. For example, if you were to use an @AccessNow_sucks Twitter account to voice criticism of our organization, that is probably not something the public would view as an official Access Now account, and no permission would be required for a use of that nature.
What If I Want Permission For A Use Not Allowed By This Policy?
If you wish to use any of Access Now’s trademarks in a manner that is not expressly permitted by this policy, or otherwise permitted by a trademark law exception such as fair use, please contact us directly at [email protected] We will be happy to consider your request. For most efficient processing of your request, your email should:
- provide plenty of detail regarding the requested use (e.g., “I’d like to sell 100 t-shirts at an upcoming technology meetup occurring on April 5, 2063”);
- contain a mockup of the use you plan to make, so that we can review it (e.g., “enclosed is a .png version of the design that I’d like to use on the back of the t-shirts I plan to offer”);
- be clear as to timing and when you require approval (e.g., “I need to order the t-shirts no later than February 5, 2063”); and
- let us know whether the goods you plan to produce will be given away for free, or how you anticipate pricing them, if applicable.
We ask that you submit any such requests to us at least four (4) weeks before you require approval.
If you plan to make a profit on your use – for example, if you’ll be charging more for your t-shirts than they cost to produce – we’ll likely ask you to agree to donate any profits you end up with (if any) to Access Now.
If I Have Permission to Use an Access Now Trademark, What Are the Usage Restrictions for That Trademark?
Use the Exact Mark. Access Now’s trademarks should be used in their exact, most up-to-date form. They should neither be abbreviated nor combined with other words.
Mark the Mark. The first or most prominent use of an Access Now trademark should be accompanied by a “tm” symbol (“™”), to indicate that it is a trademark; you may also use the “r in a circle” symbol (“®”), if the trademark in question is a registered trademark. If you aren’t sure, using the “tm” symbol (“™”) is fine. The first or most prominent mention of an Access Now trademark should also be set apart from surrounding text, either by capitalizing, italicizing, bolding, or underlining it.
Credit the Mark. The following notice text should appear somewhere nearby your first or most prominent mention of an Access Now trademark (for example in a footer). If that’s not practical, you may include it in a reasonable alternate location:
[mark] is a trademark of Access Now.
Any goodwill generated by use of Access Now’s trademarks shall inure solely to the benefit of Access Now.
How Do I Report Trademark Abuse?
Please report any misuse of Access Now’s trademarks to [email protected], and provide us with as much information as you can about the use you think might be infringing. We’ll investigate the use, and take appropriate action, if warranted.
How Do I Report Copyright Infringement?
If you believe there is Media Material on this website that violates copyright law, please let us know. Specifically, please provide us with as much detail as possible in your formal notification (by way of email) that ideally includes the following:
- Authorization to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
- Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works on a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
- Identification of the Media Material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the Media Material.
- Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
- A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the Media Material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
- A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
This notice should be sent via email to [email protected]. We may display a copy of your notice in place of the removed content. Access Now reserves the right to review the allegedly infringing material and independently determine whether it is infringing. Please also note that the information provided in your notice will be anonymized and forwarded to the person who provided the allegedly infringing content.
If you’d like to use Access Now’s trademarks, copyrighted Media Material, or brands in a way that’s not covered by this policy, or if you have any questions regarding this policy or the use of our trademarks or copyrighted Media Material overall, please contact us at [email protected]. Please note that it may take four (4) weeks for such requests to be processed.
Special thanks are due to the Electronic Frontier Foundation® (EFF®) for allowing Access Now to borrow much of their work in developing this policy, including their unique insight into the usage of trademarks, copyright, media, and brands in our community.