According to the U.S. Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office, the use of the USMC logo, the names USMC, U.S. Marine Corp or any likeness thereof is a violation of copyright law. This means that the creators in SL that have been using this logo or this name have since 2000 been commiting copyright fraud, IF they have earned over 15 000USD per year from the products. Knowing the Linden Rate, I doubt many creators have reached anywhere near those sums, however USMC Trademark Licensing Office decided that they had and filed DMCA’s on all creators that used these.
What baffles most is that they only went for the things available on the Marketplace, not the things available inworld and they never gave any warning to any of the creators. The logo and names in question is also available in US surplus stores, wich according to US law makes it fair use.
What effects will this have on the ones who wears these uniforms, logos and names in SL? Only time will tell, but I know there are a lot of ex-marines out there that are sad about these news, as the mark they wore with pride is taken away from them.
According to one creator, in the article called Hoorah to protect his identity, many ex-marines have praised the 13 items that was taken off the Marketplace, as they have been injured or in other ways been unable to continue their duty in the USMC. One of them even asked Hoorah to recreate the Bronze Star as he had sent his to the iraqui girl who found him and rescued him in the event that lead to the loss of his legs.
Copyright issues is a hard case, as most people are on both sides at the same time and it is hard to know what is a copyright infringement and what isn’t, but as a rule of thumb, if you aren’t the creator of the logo or the name, consider changing it before you sell it.
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