We’ve all heard of the dangers of using images that are not classed as ‘free’. But what about logos?
Just how bad is it to use a logo without permission?
Hm! Having had personal experience, I’ll say this: the question you really want to ask yourself is, is it really worth the risk? Because let me tell you something: if it becomes an issue, the hassle you’ll be facing is definitely not worth it.
In my case, the big problem was that I didn’t even know that I wasn’t allowed to use logos until recently!
As you may know, my second novel “The Lady of the Pier” made it to the ABNA Quarter-Finals this year.
Once I got over from the shock and stopped jumping about with glee, I set out to announce it as people do, in order to take full advantage of this accomplishment. Part of my strategy was to amend my book cover accordingly.
Foolishly, I downloaded the ABNA logo and sent it to my cover designer. What’s more, I also asked her to add the wording: ‘An ABNA Quarter-Finalist’. Once I got the cover back, I published it everywhere: KDP, my blog, and across all the social media that I use. A few weeks passed when I was none the wiser, especially as no one among my author friends, even the most savvy among them, knew any better as to warn me I was treading on dangerous ground.
All was fine until late July when I attempted to upload the same cover on Createspace as to release the book in paperback.
To my shock and horror, the strict review procedures of Createspace had rejected my cover with a note to remove both the ABNA badge and the relevant text that referred to it. I was gobsmacked! But why? KDP hadn’t said anything, right? So I emailed them to ask for details and they said that until I got written permission from ABNA, they weren’t going to accept my cover as it was. Apparently, I wasn’t allowed to even print the word ‘ABNA’ on the cover without permission!
What followed was a very embarrassing email that I had to send to ABNA (an Amazon company) and apologize for my indiscretion. Of course, I also asked them if they could grant me permission to use their logo.
As an overall experience, it’s been awfully distressing because everything by that time was up in the air. As I waited for their response, I set out to replace my cover everywhere with the earlier version that featured no ABNA references.
I even had to grovel to Goodreads as they don’t normally update book covers, but having explained to them my awkward predicament, they were happy to make an exception for me. In the meantime, to avoid further delay with releasing the paperback, I set it up immediately with a new cover without references to ABNA.
Thankfully, and to cut a long story short, ABNA were more than polite and accommodating. They sent me a release form, which I had to sign and send back. After that, I had to wait for quite a few nerve-racking weeks until they got back to me.
In mid September, I was finally granted permission to use their Quarter-Finalist ABNA badge. Bound by certain conditions that I made sure to follow by the letter, I updated my book’s copyright page to include the ABNA logo and added the badge on the cover. By then, my cover designer had also acquired another, high resolution picture of the same pier, which we were delighted to use instead.
For my own reasons, I opted to use the ABNA logo on the ebook cover but not on the paperback, the main one being that on the whole, I found the Createspace review process quite nerve-racking and so feel reluctant to make changes and go through it again.
It goes without saying that having learnt a hard lesson, my constant apprehension about the images I use on my blog, nowadays stretch to logos too. So dear friends, please beware as to save yourselves precious time and misery!
So, what about you? Have you ever been notified to stop using a company logo? Do you have any relevant stories to share? Don’t be shy! Please comment and let us all benefit!