5

Font-Awesome provides logos for social media brands like facebook.

According to Facebooks brand guidelines using those seem to not be allowed:

[Don't] Use any icons, images or trademarks to represent Facebook other than what is found on this resource center

So am I right that we can't use those Font Awesome icons?

5

Feels cliché at this point but should be said: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

This sort of thing is about risk calculation and mitigation. How much risk is there, and is there anything you can do to minimize yours?

In this case, let's consider the context. Facebook needs to have a means to throw the book at someone who starts a site called "Phacebook" and uses a white 'ph' set in Klavika on a blue background as its logo. If some big company puts out a social media icon that's similar to the FB logo but different in some key ways and it's gaining a lot of traction, they need to have the means to shut it down. And so on.

Meanwhile, Facebook benefits from as much exposure as possible. They want every site to have a Facebook page, and they want you to drive traffic to it. I know that if I used a solid black "f" logo to match the color scheme on my site and I got a legal notification to change it to an official asset, I'm more likely to remove my link altogether than change it. They don't want that, and I haven't heard of a single example of them actually doing that.

So, this ultimately comes down to a "letter of the law" vs. "spirit of the law" thing. I see sites for companies with way more lawyers than I'll ever have who are technically violating the guidelines. If I see/hear about Facebook serving companies for improper use of FB assets, I'll see what they're looking for, what happens in those cases, and act accordingly. I'd certainly be timid about starting an "App Store" after Apple went after numerous companies that used the name. But the de facto order of things is that this isn't a big deal, and so I'll personally treat it that way until I see or hear otherwise.

4

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer by any means and I'm not officially certified to give legal advice.

Those are indeed brand guidelines that the respective brand management teams want you to adhere to. It seems much like the collective internet shrugs about these guidelines, judging by all the different shapes and colours of social media icons you find everywhere.

You can use them. Facebook won't be happy, but they won't sue you, either.

2

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this post does not constitute legal advice.

You cannot / are not supposed to ignore the guidelines specified for their brand. The company could choose to sue you if you change their logo, although this is only likely to happen if you are in some way making money from those modified logos.

When using them for personal purposes, it all comes down to your judgement call. The odds of getting sued for using the fontawesome icons is tiny, this is common practise and generally benefits the company instead of damaging their image.

0

My IP lawyer I hired to do my trademark application told me to remove the font awesome Apple icon I had used on my Membership page. Since she is an IP lawyer, and she said that that it's not ok you should PROBABLY not use it just because it is there.

You should still consult your own legal counsel if you have serious concerns.

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