Copyright is a bundle of exclusive legal rights that vary depending on the type of work. A copyright owner can grant some or all of those rights to others through a license. This section will lay out our approach to copyrights, trademarks, and Creative Commons licenses.
Copyright protection applies to any original works that are fixed in a tangible medium. This includes works like drawings, recordings of a song, short stories, or paintings, but not something like a garden, since it will grow and change by nature. Copyright does not cover facts, ideas, names, or characters.
Copyright protection begins when the work is first created and it doesn’t require any formal filings.
Copyright law applies to nearly every piece of content we create at Rooftop, from our website to our blog posts to the gifts we make for our users. We display proper—and prominent—copyright notice on our website site and any other content we produce.
At minimum, these copyright notices read, “© [YEAR] Rooftop.”
We respect the copyright of other creators. If we want to use someone else’s copyrighted work, we have to obtain a license from the owners.
A copyright license spells out these terms:
A common license will read something like this:
“You grant Rooftop a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free license to display, distribute, and publish the Work in our marketing in any medium now known or later developed.”
If you need to get a copyright license for work at Rooftop or if someone outside of Rooftop asks to use our copyrighted work, please contact the legal team.
This is an area where the letter of the law and common practice sometimes differ.
Social media posts often include copyrighted elements like pictures, GIFs, or pieces of writing. If you’re using a copyrighted element in a commercial manner on social media, you should request permission from the copyright holder. Since Rooftop is a company, we defer to the position that our use will be perceived as commercial. But if you’re using it in a more informative or commentary way, like sharing a meme to indicate how you feel about a news story, you may not need to request permission.
Regardless, you should always link to the source of the copyrighted element you’re using, and never make it look like you created work that belongs to someone else.
Rooftop almost always uses original images in our blog posts. If you use an image, photo, or other design element made by someone outside Rooftop, get permission first. Once you have permission, always give the copyright owner credit and link back to the original source.
Images retrieved via Google image search are not licensed for fair use, but many images are available under license through stock photo websites, or open for use under a Creative Commons license. Flickr has a great search feature for images available under Creative Commons licenses.
Instead of the standard “all rights reserved,” some creators choose to make their work available for public use with different levels of attribution required. That’s what we’ve done with this style guide. Find a breakdown of licenses on the Creative Commons website.
Please check with Rooftop’s legal team before making something you created here available under a Creative Commons license. We love to share our work, but we use these licenses sparingly, because we have to protect our intellectual property and trade secrets.
A trademark, often called a mark, can be a word, name, sign, design, or a combination of those. It’s used to identify the provider of a particular product or service. They’re usually words and images, but in some cases, they can even be a color.
To be protectable, a trademark needs a distinctive element. There’s a “spectrum of distinctiveness” that spans from inherently protectable marks to ones that require additional proof to ones that may never be protected.
We usually classify Rooftop as an arbitrary mark, but it could also be considered suggestive.
A trademark is only valid for as long as it indicates the source of that good or service, so we have to be very careful about how our marks are used. We send out cease and desist letters sometimes, because even the friendliest companies have to protect their trademarks. If a trademark is properly protected, it can last forever and may be a company's most valuable asset.
To note that something is a trademark, and in the case of registered marks in order to collect damages, the trademark has to be displayed with an appropriate symbol.
Here are the various trademark symbols and when to use them:
The trademark symbol should appear as close to the mark as possible.
Here’s how to indicate Rooftop’s trademark:
Marks are also sometimes indicated by using all caps: ROOFTOP
Our trademarks should be properly noted the first time they’re used in a press release or article, or anywhere else our trademark and copyright notice does not appear.
We register all of our trademarks. Before we decide to use a name for a product, we perform a trademark search to make sure there aren’t any confusingly similar trademarks already in use.
For the most part, our trademarks are “arbitrary marks,” which mean the name suggests at some element of the goods or services represented.
If you’re working on a new product at Rooftop, submit name possibilities to the legal team so they can get a head start on the trademark search. Even if you haven’t used the name yet, we can go ahead and file an Intent to Use application.