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I sometimes do rebranding exercises for companies that already exist (eg. a new design for their website, a new logo, etc) but they're uncommissioned and done without asking for permission. Is it okay for me to show these rebranding concepts online or would there be copyright issues? I make no money from it.

  • Depends on where you are and who you show them to. Best not play this game. – joojaa Jan 15 '16 at 9:27
  • @jooja I don't think your answer helps much, it'd be best if you gave some examples, like how it depends where you are? Any examples of copyright laws regarding this in some major countries? Plus OP says it's intended to go online and make no money off of it, how would that be a problem? I'm not saying there wouldn't be one, just asking how. – MrMerrick Jan 15 '16 at 10:22
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    I think this may be better asked on Law. I'm interested in answers though. – Cai Jan 15 '16 at 10:46
  • @MrMerrick Im not your lawyer, trademark law is tricky. In most jurisdictions where both parties pay its always a problem to open oneself up to legal action. If the re is no need to do it, dont! Its a risk not worth taking. What countries are major? China go ahead, USA thread with caution... – joojaa Jan 15 '16 at 10:59
  • I think you'd be a lot safer if you changed a few letters in the name making it a spoof/parody. As long as the logo isn't the main focus of the project, I don't think it would detract from your concept. I.e. instead of 'Pepsi' you could do 'Papsi' or 'Popsi'. It would probably be even easier with companies that abbreviate like GSK - instead of 'Glaxo Smith Klein' it could be 'Gecko Smoke Krack', as long as the full name was referenced well. :) – Dom Jan 15 '16 at 13:46
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What you do on your own is on your own - but the moment you start showing it, it than enters the public realm. And once it enters the public realm, legal frameworks are applied. At this point, what's legal and what's not becomes a negotiation between you, the public, the government, and other entities that may have a vested business interest in protecting their image and depiction in the public sphere. So now the question becomes "Do I have the resources (time, money, legal representation) to protect my creative work, even if it's somewhat derivative of others work, inside the legal framework of the region I work in?"

And to answer that question may require the trained skills of a legal representative.

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