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I am currently making a trailer of my game for my college project, I would like to note that my game is cross platform. Do I need to ask for permission to use those images in such situation? - When I want to say that their game will be on playable on Windows/Mac/Linux.

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yes you most definitely do have to ask permission to use a companies logo, image, name, etc. If you are just making something small that will not be shown anywhere outside of the classroom, you will probably be fine, but you can't use this kind of stuff publicly. –  Benjamin Danger Johnson Jul 16 '13 at 20:15
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That being said, I am not a lawyer and this is not exactly the best place to get legal information. –  Benjamin Danger Johnson Jul 16 '13 at 20:15
    
From what I understand, many websites that use these logos do so on a shaky legal ground. They're basically aware of the unlikelihood that those companies will sue them. Many of the notable sites will actually redraw the logo in their own aesthetic (for instance, recognizable white silhouettes). Again, if you're looking for a guarantee, shop for a vaccum cleaner. –  Katana314 Jul 16 '13 at 20:34
    
For what it's worth, some companies like Blizzard Entertainment provide explicit permission to use such content (though in fairly limited ways): us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/legal-faq.html –  stephelton Jul 16 '13 at 23:35
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They should sue the crap out of the NSA for that powerpoint. –  Erik Reppen Jul 18 '13 at 0:25
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6 Answers

up vote 52 down vote accepted

Microsoft has an FAQ about the use of their trademark.

From that FAQ:

Can I use a Microsoft logo to indicate that my product or service runs on or is compatible with a Microsoft technology or service?

Yes, as long as you have a signed logo license agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft has many logo programs to indicate compatibility with various software, products, and services. For your product to be eligible to display a Microsoft logo, you will be required to demonstrate Microsoft-defined performance and compatibility standards for your product or service. If you do not have a signed logo license agreement from Microsoft, you may not use any Microsoft logo to indicate compatibility with Microsoft software, products, or services.

So it looks like technically, to claim your software runs on Windows, you need to have it logo certified. More information about getting your project certified can be found here.

You might be able to fudge the legal lines with the follow:

Can I use a Microsoft logo in my school project?

It is okay to use Microsoft logos in school projects such as book reports, stories, or articles about or involving Microsoft or its software, products, and services. The project should be displayed, used in, or directed to an academic environment.

But it's a stretch. Universities often have legal departments you can ask them if you're uncertain.

Other companies likely have similar requirements, and you'll need to research each company individually if you want to know the true requirements.

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we were thinking among the same lines! upvote. –  AmitApollo Jul 16 '13 at 20:42
    
I got it in the same time, thanks! :) –  Mikolaj Marcisz Jul 16 '13 at 20:43
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no doubt! upvote too. Be sure to update those logos you posted. Chrome icon is no longer 3D, Firefox is more cartoony, Windows logo above looks like XP, Mac should just be an Apple, IE and Safari are both flattened in their new iterations. Unless of course you posted those logos just for conceptual reasons, then nevermind ;) –  AmitApollo Jul 16 '13 at 20:49
    
I think the most painless way to get around it will be just to parody the logo's into a form that would be distinquished by anyone. An apple, a window and a penguin should solve everything easy to understand with a twist :) –  Mikolaj Marcisz Jul 16 '13 at 20:53
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Couldn't find the right phrase for search but finally found it, "using corporation trademark". It seems you are allowed to freely use their logo's and trademarks as long as the product is really compatible with their software.

For Apple

  1. Compatibility: If you are a developer, you may show an image of an Apple product in your promotional/advertising materials to depict that your product is compatible with, or otherwise works with, the Apple product or technology, provided you comply with the following requirements:

a. Your product is in fact compatible with, or otherwise works with, the referenced Apple product.

b. The image is an actual photograph of the genuine Apple product and not an artist’s rendering (Note: You must obtain express written permission from Apple before using any photograph owned or licensed by Apple).

c. The Apple product is shown only in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc.

d. The reference to Apple does not create a sense of endorsement or sponsorship by, or other false association with, Apple or Apple products.

For further information with respect to Apple’s copyrights, please submit your request in writing to the Copyright Team.

I guess the "picture" logo will require sending a mail to the copyright department

http://www.apple.com/legal/contact/#copyright

For Windows

For Linux

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I do know if you happen to have an app available in the Mac App Store, iOS App Store, or Google Play, they have available banners at your disposal to post on your website. Microsoft used to have the Microsoft Compatibility logo available to Software Manufacturers that pass the hardware guidelines for said software. I know Apple is very meticulous about what kind of logos you can use, and they specifically have a press kit with different logos and resolutions.

That being said, your Chrome, IE, and Firefox logos above are antiquated, and there are newer versions out there. Windows is the logo from XP, and the Mac logo looks a bit old, too.

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(The Chrome logo has changed too.) +1, I couldn't believe those huge companies wouldn't have 'press kits' or something similar. –  11684 Jul 17 '13 at 8:10
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Legally, no. It is explicitly allowed to use a trademark when the use is limited to describing a factual aspect of your product. This is called Nominative Use.

It doesn't mean that the owners of these logos will like you. They will generally suggest that you are not allowed to use them, but their opinion does not have the force of law.

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That only applies to the trademark, right? The logo is also protected by copyright. In the US you'd need a fair use defense to bypass needing permission to use the logo. –  Zan Lynx Jul 18 '13 at 0:09
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@ZanLynx: nominative use is a fair use defense. –  MSalters Jul 18 '13 at 7:06
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Since answers here mostly seem to concentrate around other operating systems, let me answer in the context of Linux, since you've asked about that as well.

Yes, you can do anything you want with Tux, the Linux mascot.

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source: http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/

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Yes you can but only for a non commercial use or a private use, see here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/Trademarks/Usage/Logo.aspx

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Answers to questions like this should include references. –  Byte56 Jul 17 '13 at 17:31
    
    
Thanks, I believe that's for the Microsoft logo, not the Windows logo as the question asks about. –  Byte56 Jul 17 '13 at 17:46
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