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  Minting a new space coin: NASA emblems use

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Author Topic:   Minting a new space coin: NASA emblems use
mmmoo
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Posts: 409
From: London, England
Registered: May 2001

posted 03-28-2013 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone ever tried to get a new space coin or medallion minted?

What I want to know is, if there are any legal requirements, permissions needed, or laws regarding using a NASA logo or Apollo mission emblem on the coin?

Such as this Apollo 7 example:

Can anyone get something like this commissioned or does it need to be officially approved by NASA?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-28-2013 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Generally speaking, NASA is okay with the use of mission emblems on souvenirs and memorabilia, so long as it doesn't explicitly imply NASA endorsement.

But if you want to be sure before starting, there is contact information here for any questions regarding application of any NASA image or emblem.

mmmoo
Member

Posts: 409
From: London, England
Registered: May 2001

posted 03-28-2013 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert, that is very helpful.

From reading the page you linked to it seems there are some restrictions on using the NASA logo but not on mission emblem logos.

p51
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Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 03-28-2013 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I once asked a friend of mine who is a copyright attorney who handles international copyright law. He told me he thought that like many government-created logos, the NASA 'meatball' (or 'vector') insignia is a registered trademark held by the US Government. I don't think he looked too deeply into it, however and told me this was his understanding of the subject.

That said, Robert is correct in that they don't seem to smite people too hard for using it, regardless.

I'm no expert but I've always understood that mission patch designs, while considered official, weren't copyrighted in the same manner as the official NASA logo.

In the age of the internet, the concept of 'fair use' has been ridiculously misunderstood. I've had plenty of my (non-space-related) drawings copied onto websites without my permission and the response was always one of surprise when they each got a letter from my attorney friend on the subject.

DON'T ASSUME you can use it. You wouldn't want to get too financially deep into a project just to find that NASA is going to hit you for licensing fees.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-28-2013 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a federal agency, NASA imagery — including its insignia and emblems — is in the public domain. NASA does not, and cannot, charge licensing fees under any circumstances.

It can however, legally block the usage of its imagery under other protections afforded the government by federal law.

The best thing is to do is to contact NASA Headquarters and inquire. The likelihood is that you'll be granted permission, so long as you're not implying endorsement with the use of the emblem.

spaceman
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Posts: 922
From: Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 03-29-2013 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I contacted NASA a few months back with reference to the use of the NASA meatball/vector logo on souvenir items we specifically wanted to reproduce e.g. shirts/caps/mugs etc. I was requested to put a proposal in writing (with details/photos of samples of goods we intended to produce) by their legal department.

Due to staff movement I had to put it forward again and have heard nothing since.
We sell items in the online store produced by other companies. A Google search will bring untold numbers of such items available for sale worldwide.

I would prefer to wait for approval and indeed two possible suppliers will not move towards manufacture until I have written permission from NASA they are okay with any other logo.

SkyMan1958
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Posts: 355
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 03-29-2013 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Assuming you get the okays from NASA you could certainly create a medallion. A coin is a whole other legal entity. It is money, and can only be created by a government.

p51
Member

Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 03-30-2013 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
As a federal agency, NASA imagery — including its insignia and emblems — is in the public domain. NASA does not, and cannot, charge licensing fees under any circumstances.
Maybe NASA can't, but the United States Marine Corps certainly does, so I wasn't sure if NASA could as well.

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