So the Glowforge Premium beta includes a clipart library that we supposedly have commercial rights to use in our prints.
However, this library contains numerous graphics of Disney trademarked characters (e.g. Olaf, Elsa, Stitch, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc) and other art that seems like it would infringe on some third party’s rights.
The Glowforge Terms of Service includes an indemnity clause that says that we users will compensate Glowforge for their loss if they get sued for our infringing third-party intellectual property rights. It seems like it should be the other way around: Glowforge should be indemnifying us against being sued for using the artwork we’re going to be paying them for.
What’s up here? Does this make any sense?
The images come from the Noun Project, do you know if they have rights to the images or not?
I’m concerned they don’t. They allow anyone to submit new graphics to the library, and the guidelines they give icon creators don’t include anything about respecting copyrights or trademarks other than “don’t submit logos”.
I’ve read from someone that their submissions were reviewed and denied by NP for content issues, so I was under the impression they reviewed everything before adding it to the database. But I haven’t looked into it, so I take that with a grain of salt. It would surprise me if Disney wasn’t aware of NP and all their content on the site though.
Congratulations Dan on being one of the few that actually read the terms! Under the circumstances the library was conveyed to us, I suspect that the company wouldn’t have much defense, but I am quite sure that behavior is beneath this company - who does have legal talent on retainer, and historically their lawyers have been touchy about liability. I’d personally bank on the offering to have been blessed by the lawyers. Dan is not one to leave things to chance.
I believe we are clear of liability in this case, since the content is being provided to us with the written understanding that we can use it for commercial work.
Glowforge pays a small fee to the Noun Project on our behalf every time we click on one of those images. So Glowforge is the customer, not the provider.
The Noun Project is going to be responsible for taking down any infringing content, and they are surely aware of it by this point, so as long as the images are in there, they have probably been well vetted by now.
Most of those images, while suggestive of the characters, are not exact replications, and that gets into fair use and fan art and a whole slew of other exceptions, that give me a headache to even start thinking about…that’s what they, (the designers submitting to the Noun Project), would need to hire lawyers for, if anything came up.
(But not us, and not Glowforge. The folks making money off of it are the Noun Project and the original designers.)
Besides, as @PrintToLaser points out…the Glowfolk aren’t jerks. Every time I’ve seen them do something over the last 3 years it has fallen on the generous side of things rather than the venal. (When they can. Sometimes they can’t do it for whatever reason.)
But if we start tracing logos or characters and putting them up for sale without permission, that puts Glowforge, (and us by extension), at risk. It’s just not worth the hassle. Design your own stuff before you try to sell it. That’s my interpretation of what that phrase in the TOS means.
The Apple company logo is in the library. I’ve pretty much lost all faith that we can actually use this clipart commercially without all the same risks of being sued as blindly pulling stuff off Google Images. Without some kind of indemnification from Glowforge Inc., their clipart library is now off-limits for me.
I have a suspicion “royalty-free” only applies to the Noun Project and contributing designers (or, in this case, GF) and not the true holders of the trademark.
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