Is the bear and star image on the California flag copyrighted? The image of the flag on Wikipedia is in the public domain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_California.svg) If I wanted to use the bear and star image on the banner of a personal blog of mine, would there be any legal problems?
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Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Forget copyright law, It’s unlawful under California law:
1. to solicit information,
2. to solicit the purchase of or payment for a product or service, or
3. to solicit the contribution of funds or membership fees
by using the design on the California state flag and
4. to use that design in any way that would deceive an ordinary reasonable person into believing that it’s use by you is authorized by the State of California.
Which covers an awful lot of ground. But if you're not using the design for any of those purposes, then "yes" you may copy and publish the California state flag design on your website.
As for copyright law, the design on the California state flag is in the public domain [having been first published at least as early as 1911 -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_state_flag ].
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