Legislation re. National Arms

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Jonathan Webster
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Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 Feb 2013, 23:04

Well, I've been doing a spot of investigating as regards the various Acts, Laws, Decrees, etc. with which the various National arms of the various sovereign nations have been adopted, and they make for interesting reading. What has struck me most in actual fact are the provisions in a lot of them. For example, in both Singapore and Zambia it's against the law for private individuals to use the arms or anything that could be mistaken or is very similar to the National Arms, (and in Zambia it's even an offence to insult the National Arms!) So, an heraldic law of sorts, even if specific and not extensive like in England or South Africa for example.

My question is, does anyone know of any similar provisions around the world one either a national, provincial, or municipal level?

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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 21 Feb 2013, 08:43

In South Africa, the Heraldry Act protects the national arms against misuse :

Any person who commits any act which displays contempt for the coat of arms of the Republic or which is likely to hold it up to ridicule, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand rand or in default of payment to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

This clause was added to the Act in 1982. Whether it's still enforceable in the light of the Constitutional protection of freedom of opinion and freedom of expression, introduced in 1994, is another matter.

A municipality which has registered its arms can sue anyone who misuses its arms.

Most national coats of arms (and other emblems) are protected against unauthorised use for commercial purposes through the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Most states are signatories to the convention, and the protection is reciprocal.
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Torsten Laneryd
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Torsten Laneryd » 21 Feb 2013, 11:25

A private profession that is allowed to wear the small national coat of arms of Sweden is that of chimney sweeps, who wear it gilded with supporters on a belt buckle of brass sheet on their journeyman belts. They obtained that permission of Queen Christina after they helped to extinguish a fire at the Royal Palace in 1642.

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Chas Charles-Dunne
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 21 Feb 2013, 12:18

Arthur Radburn wrote: snip ... Most national coats of arms (and other emblems) are protected against unauthorised use for commercial purposes through the Paris Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Most states are signatories to the convention, and the protection is reciprocal.


http://www.abcunderwear.com/flagcollection.html

So that only leaves the question - Boxers or Briefs?
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JMcMillan
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby JMcMillan » 21 Feb 2013, 17:00

Jonathan Webster wrote:Well, I've been doing a spot of investigating as regards the various Acts, Laws, Decrees, etc. with which the various National arms of the various sovereign nations have been adopted, and they make for interesting reading. What has struck me most in actual fact are the provisions in a lot of them. For example, in both Singapore and Zambia it's against the law for private individuals to use the arms or anything that could be mistaken or is very similar to the National Arms, (and in Zambia it's even an offence to insult the National Arms!) So, an heraldic law of sorts, even if specific and not extensive like in England or South Africa for example.

My question is, does anyone know of any similar provisions around the world one either a national, provincial, or municipal level?


Title 18, United States Code, section 713, provides in part:

"(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States [the obverse of which consists of the arms of the United States], or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

"(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President [which consist of a specific emblazonment of the arms of the U.S.], or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."

Note that the Presidential and Vice Presidential versions of the arms are more stringently protected than the national arms. I would observe that in both cases, it is only the emblazonment "or any facsimile thereof" that is protected by this statute. Separate statutes permit the Patent and Trademark Office to refuse registration to any proposed trademark that includes the U.S., state, or foreign arms. I believe all the states have similar laws governing state trademark registration.

None of this, however, precludes private display of the arms of the United States in some other style of emblazonment. In fact, the arms had become a popular decorative motif on all kinds of personal objects in the U.S. within a few years of their adoption in 1782--merchant ship sternboards, porcelain dishes, earthenware jugs, tavern signs, furniture inlays, quilts, sailors' tattoos, weathervanes, and on and on.
Joseph McMillan
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Arthur Radburn
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 21 Feb 2013, 17:53

Jonathan Webster wrote:My question is, does anyone know of any similar provisions around the world one either a national, provincial, or municipal level?

Zimbabwe's Armorial Bearings, Names, Uniforms & Badges Act makes it an offence to display the national arms, or an imitation thereof, on any item without presidential permission.

Some, if not all, of the Australian states have legislation to protect their arms against unauthorised use.
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Jonathan Webster
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Jonathan Webster » 21 Feb 2013, 19:01

But not presumably the Arms of Australia itself?

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Jeremy Kudlick
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Jeremy Kudlick » 22 Feb 2013, 02:45

Title 18, United States Code, Section 708:

"Whoever, whether a corporation, partnership, unincorporated company, association, or person within the United States, willfully uses as a trade mark, commercial label, or portion thereof, or as an advertisement or insignia for any business or organization or for any trade or commercial purpose, the coat of arms of the Swiss Confederation, consisting of an upright white cross with equal arms and lines on a red ground, or any simulation thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

This section shall not make unlawful the use of any such design or insignia which was lawful on August 31, 1948."

These are the only arms besides those mentioned by Joseph that are afforded any legal protection unless they are registered as a trademark.
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JMcMillan
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby JMcMillan » 22 Feb 2013, 13:15

Jeremy Kudlick wrote:Title 18, United States Code, Section 708:

"Whoever, whether a corporation, partnership, unincorporated company, association, or person within the United States, willfully uses as a trade mark, commercial label, or portion thereof, or as an advertisement or insignia for any business or organization or for any trade or commercial purpose, the coat of arms of the Swiss Confederation, consisting of an upright white cross with equal arms and lines on a red ground, or any simulation thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

This section shall not make unlawful the use of any such design or insignia which was lawful on August 31, 1948."

These are the only arms besides those mentioned by Joseph that are afforded any legal protection unless they are registered as a trademark.


And if anyone wants to know why Switzerland gets such special treatment, it's required under Geneva Convention I of 1949: "By reason of the tribute paid to Switzerland by the adoption of the reversed Federal colours, and of the confusion which may arise between the arms of Switzerland and the distinctive emblem of the Convention, the use by private individuals, societies or firms, of the arms of the Swiss Confederation, or of marks constituting an imitation thereof, whether as trademarks or commercial marks, or as parts of such marks, or for a purpose contrary to commercial honesty, or in circumstances capable of wounding Swiss national sentiment, shall be prohibited at all times."
Joseph McMillan
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Jonathan Webster
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Re: Legislation re. National Arms

Postby Jonathan Webster » 24 Feb 2013, 19:20

One thing that is perhaps remarkable is that the majority of sovereign states have Arms-not always good ones, but Arms nonetheless. We may complain when a new nation adopts a non-armorial 'national emblem' but the reality is that those states are rare, and in fact most of them are in Asia-places where one would perhaps not expect to find National Arms-such as Oceania, Africa or South America-they are actually in the majority.


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