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Can i design a postcard as alumni with university image?

1 Answers. Asked on Apr 12th, 2017 on Intellectual Property - California
More details to this question:
I was invited to design a postcard as an alumni as a company is branding its next product with a theme of college graduation. Will this confront any IP policy? 1. I will design a postcard with image related to the university (e.g.clock tower). 2. The postcard will be packaged together with the product. 3. The company will not use the official logo, nor claim the special edition as an official collaboration with the university. Therefore, they will not seek for the official approval from the university. 5. The postcard/note will state that the design is credited to me, as an individual
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Answered on Apr 13th, 2017 at 11:13 AM

Here's the good news: Congress specifically exempted photographs or artistic renditions of buildings. See 17 USC 120(a):  

(a)Pictorial Representations Permitted.—

The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.
 
That means you are free to use a photograph of a building in its environment.
 
The more nebulous issue is making sure that using that picture doesn't convey that the owner endorses your use. Not using the official logo or not making a claim of a connection will probably be enough -- but no one can ensure that someone else doesn't overreact.  

This answer does not mean I am your lawyer. No attorney-client relationship exists. This response is for general information only.

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Intellectual Property
The legal system recognizes the rights of people and companies that invent and create unique works, granting them ownership of those tangible and intangible assets through a number of intellectual property laws. Intellection property, or IP, includes patents, trademarks, copyright, trade dress and trade secrets. Intellectual property attorneys work with businesses and individuals (including inventors, writers, composers, artists and designers) to help protect these intellectual assets. IP lawyers and law firms can assist with taking initial steps to protect assets, while also working with clients to license items and to protect assets that are plagiarized, infringed and/or misappropriated.
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