For example if I were to photoshop a deer crossing sign and make a few alterations then sell stickers / prints of the sign, can I be prosecute with copyright violation for using the likeness of the deer xing sign?

I suppose the answer would go for all signs and not just deer crossing.

  • I found this. You should assume that a road sign is copyright-protected and may not be uploaded unless you can demonstrate to the contrary. Allowable signs include those that are too simple to attract copyright protection (use the{{PD-ineligible}} tag), those that are old enough to be in the public domain, and those released to the public domain by government policy - e.g. certain signs which are specified within the US Department of Transportation'sManual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Road signs may also be subject to the freedom of panorama – UhlBelk Jun 26 '15 at 22:24
  • commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/… – UhlBelk Jun 26 '15 at 22:24
  • mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/shsm_interim/index.htm. Its going to take me a few minutes to find this sign I need, but am I assuming correctly that anything from this site is Creative Commons and open source? can anyone verify that for me? I read that they do sell printed signs I wouldn't want to conflict with their best interests. And they put these graphics there for printers access but does that mean anyone can print or only the division of Street maintenance. – UhlBelk Jun 26 '15 at 22:34

Research shows that graphics accessible via this government link and in the document provided to printers, are open stores and available for reproduction.


Q: Is the MUTCD copyrighted? Do I need permission from FHWA to copy material from the MUTCD and include it in a book or other type of document?

A: The MUTCD is in the public domain and as such it is not copyrighted. Individuals can use material from the online version of the MUTCD, such as tables, figures, and text quotations, without seeking permission from the FHWA. When using or referencing material from the MUTCD, please be sure to reference the source as the MUTCD, 2009 Edition, published by FHWA athttp://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009/pdf_index.htm. It is also helpful to include the section and paragraph number of the material quoted, so that readers can easily find the material in context within the full MUTCD.

Deer found on page 170.

So far nothing has been discovered on the official site regarding signs not illustrated in the documents and any respective possible copyright protection.

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This might depend on where you're living. But in general no, you won't get in trouble for using traffic signs. They are domain of the government and are more or less public domain. If you make your own unique sign you can even buy your own copyrights.

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  • My country of origin is usa. I would certainly love to mark this as the answer. But do you have a link to information saying it is not copy written to uncle sam, or even if you worked for the highway department and had inside information I could accept that. I suspect that leave visuals are copy written to the government but they just choose not to prosecute either way I would really like to know if there are any possible repercussions if I were to use the images. – UhlBelk Jun 26 '15 at 21:58

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