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2019 Camino Guides

Copyright on scallop shell

Camino(s) past & future
Camino inglés October 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2017
Camino Portugues Central October 2017
#1
Does anyone know whether this classic scallop shell logo is protected by copyright or anything like it? I am planning to produce some camino stuff with the logo on it if possible. If anyone knows the original graphic designer or the story of exactly this logo, I am very interested.
 

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#2
If use of the scallop shell itself is subject to copyright then a *lot* of people (myself included) will likely be in some serious trouble. It's widely used and certainly not under any sort of licensing arrangement. I have not heard of anyone claiming ownership of the symbol, but that doesn't mean someone isn't (or won't).

That said, any specific representation of that symbol, such as in the image you posted, would be subject to copyright unless the author / creator explicitly releases ownership or unless the copyright protection period has expired.

If you are concerned about your legal exposure, you'd need to consult with a copyright lawyer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino inglés October 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2017
Camino Portugues Central October 2017
#3
If I use it, I will make my own copy of it - the photo was just to show which design it is. I had the idea that this logo was created when El Camino became World Heritage. But I have not been able to find out whether or not that is true. I want to be absolutely sure before I produce anything.
 
#4
I had an 'interesting' copyright problem a year or so ago. I was submitting one of my apps to Google Play. It was initially rejected because someone had claimed ownership of the term "Camino de Santiago"!

I had to appeal the decision. Eventually, Google reversed their decision but it took a fight to get them to do it. I still don't know who it was that claimed ownership. Scary, though, that simply an unproven claim of ownership would be enough to cause other users of the name to be rejected...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino inglés October 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2017
Camino Portugues Central October 2017
#6
It would be pretty simple to draw your own original scallop shell design.
Sure it would. But for camino merchandise I have the idea that this classic one is the safest choice. Even though it is easy to make another one. I am considering another one, though, that I personally think is prettier. But I am in doubt whether people will recognise it as a camino shell if it is too stylish and creative. But actually it might not matter at all to the customers...
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#8
Sure it would. But for camino merchandise I have the idea that this classic one is the safest choice. Even though it is easy to make another one. I am considering another one, though, that I personally think is prettier. But I am in doubt whether people will recognise it as a camino shell if it is too stylish and creative. But actually it might not matter at all to the customers...
Well, the "shell" on the Camino markers is pretty stylized!
concha-de-senalizacion-del-camino-de-santiago_7742_p.jpg
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#9
Certain specific scallop shell designs will obviously be proprietary, such as the ones used in various regions or by various local pilgrim associations for official waymarking purposes, which will be more protected than other deigns so as to avoid their misappropriation and misuse by third parties to the detriment of hikers/walkers/pilgrims wanting to follow those waymarks in a reliable manner.

Many other designs might be proprietary, but potentially free for re-use, or with easily obtainable permissions, etc., but basically these are brands

I have no idea how one would go about seeking information regarding any single specific existing design -- and I feel that it would most certainly safer and easier to just create one of your own, perhaps similar in look and inspiration to one that you like, but nevertheless still unique and different and your own to do with as you please.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#10
Hi Marie - good question! The scallop shell design itself cannot be copyrighted, the history of it in images goes back thousands of years .. but specific signs? Such as brass ones laid in cities? I would be surprised, astounded, if any of them were copyrighted - although that photo could be - copyright has to have a 'uniqueness' about it and, at core, they are all scallop shells.
Saying that, I would so love to see the Shell petroleum company sue the Catholic church for using its logo!!
Actually, as the pilgrimage is older perhaps the Church should sue Shell??

I have a similar problem - or thought that I did. I use an image from a 19th century Dutch tile as my logo, on my Pilgrim Supplies eBay shop and website and I too searched for ages trying to track down copyright, to no avail - it is just an old tile (though I absolutely love it!).
I have used it for thirteen years now and am still waiting for a copyright holder to pop up :).

pilgrim (298 x 300) (2).jpg
 
Last edited:

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#12
Does anyone know whether this classic scallop shell logo is protected by copyright or anything like it? I am planning to produce some camino stuff with the logo on it if possible. If anyone knows the original graphic designer or the story of exactly this logo, I am very interested.
Curiously I was browsing my favourite on-line newspaper over lunch when I saw this article.

I think that's taking "fair copying" too far but I doubt anybody is going to get overly excited about using a scallop shell (apart from Shell Oil that is!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
#13
Sure it would. But for camino merchandise I have the idea that this classic one is the safest choice. Even though it is easy to make another one. I am considering another one, though, that I personally think is prettier. But I am in doubt whether people will recognise it as a camino shell if it is too stylish and creative. But actually it might not matter at all to the customers...
Hi MarieLauFlorin - I'm a qualified designer artist, have worked on many products. Its my understanding that the scallop design is universal and has multiple variations. If someone has developed a new design they may well have copyright on it. Adding your own touch, your flair, your personality, to a design, working through a number of rough ideas and coming up with your favourite, will give it far more individuality and you may feel you've contributed something new to a brand that is being done to oblivion. I always like the more original ideas, have bought some Tshirts myself of them. Go for it. Let us all see your originality and creativity - who knows, you may have customers in the forum. Good luck. Keith
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino inglés October 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2017
Camino Portugues Central October 2017
#14
Hi Keith. Now THAT'S something I understand. You have convinced me completely. I will go for my own personal version. Still classic, but my own. Thank you so much for your input. Now next step is finishing the design and finding a manufacturer. And then hopefully: Staring to sell my stuff.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino inglés October 2016
Camino Primitivo May 2017
Camino Portugues Central October 2017
#15
Curiously I was browsing my favourite on-line newspaper over lunch when I saw this article.

I think that's taking "fair copying" too far but I doubt anybody is going to get overly excited about using a scallop shell (apart from Shell Oil that is!)
What a story!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
#16
Hi Keith. Now THAT'S something I understand. You have convinced me completely. I will go for my own personal version. Still classic, but my own. Thank you so much for your input. Now next step is finishing the design and finding a manufacturer. And then hopefully: Staring to sell my stuff.
Sounds exciting, I know the 'buzz' and satisfaction of it. Don't hang back, go for it; paint, crayons, inks, colour, paper, ideas all over the place untill you get what you're looking for. Best wishes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#18
Does anyone know whether this classic scallop shell logo is protected by copyright or anything like it? I am planning to produce some camino stuff with the logo on it if possible. If anyone knows the original graphic designer or the story of exactly this logo, I am very interested.
If someone created it, then it is copyrighted. A copyright does not have to be registered to be valid. The moment someone creates some new work of art, it is copyrighted. As a photographer I am highly sensitive to this. They wouldn’t have copyright on any work of art based on a scallop shell, but they’d have it on their work of art. If you create an original work of art based on a scallop shell you should be fine. If you copy someone else’s they would be right in demanding that you cease using it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
#19
Keith if I send you my design will you give your opinion on it?
Yes, of course I will. I'm back from Spanienland tonight - what a place, what an adventure. Love it to bits. Lots of new souvenir shops and designs around - nought special! Look forward to seeing your designs - I link with you and give you my email address, send them there.
Best, Keith
 

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