Business and Professions Code Section 17533.6

It is a crime to use CalRecycle materials in a way that implies a connection with government or that implies governmental approval or endorsement of a product or service. In particular, section 17533.6, subdivision (a), of the Business and Professions Code states:

“[I]t is unlawful for any person . . . that is a nongovernmental entity to use a seal, emblem, insignia, trade or brand name, or any other term, symbol, or content that reasonably could be interpreted or construed as implying any federal, state, or local government . . . connection, approval, or endorsement of any product or service . . . unless the nongovernmental entity has an expressed connection with, or the approval or endorsement of, a federal, state, or local government . . . .”

Violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,500.

Therefore, although the materials available on this website may be in the public domain (see “Ownership,” below), nongovernmental entities may not use the material in connection with goods or services in such a way that falsely implies CalRecycle’s connection with, or approval or endorsement of, those goods or services. Nongovernmental entities may violate section 17533.6, for example, by using the CalRecycle logo, without CalRecycle’s permission, in connection with goods or services that it offers for profit.

Ownership

CalRecycle encourages use of the information in its printed and electronic publications, within the established guidelines presented on this page.

This website is a publication of CalRecycle and is subject to the policies that apply to all ca.gov websites. In general, information presented on the CalRecycle website, unless otherwise indicated, is considered in the public domain and may be copied and distributed as permitted by law. However, CalRecycle materials may incorporate copyrighted works (e.g., photographs) owned by others, who may have the right to restrict your further use of such works without permission. In order to use any information on this web site not owned or created by CalRecycle, you must seek permission directly from the owning (or holding) sources. See below for more information about copyright law.

Except as otherwise limited by California or federal law, CalRecycle shall have the unlimited right to use information submitted via this site, for any purpose and free of any charge, except those submissions made under separate contract, and CalRecycle shall be free to use, for any purpose, any ideas, concepts, or techniques contained in information provided through this site.

General Copyright Information

Regardless of whether CalRecycle may assert copyright protection for its own works, those works may incorporate copyrighted works of others. Therefore, the use of CalRecycle materials may violate the rights of those copyright owners.

Under the federal Copyright Act, the owner of a copyright has the right to restrict the use of the copyrighted work by others. In particular, the owner has the exclusive right to do each of the following:

  • Make copies of the work.
  • Prepare other works based on the original.
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public (e.g., selling the copies).
  • Publicly perform or display the work.

Without permission from the copyright owner, it may violate copyright law to do any of the above.

Examples of works that are protected under copyrighted law include:

  • Literary works (e.g., Internet materials, fact sheets, trade journals, training materials, television programs, radio programs, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, cartoons).
  • Pictures, graphics, and sculptures (e.g., photographs, flowcharts, movie and cartoon characters, clip art, drawings).
  • Sound recordings (e.g., phonographic records, cassette tapes, compact disks).
  • Architectural works (e.g., blueprints, maps).
  • Dramatic works (e.g., plays, screenplays).
  • Audiovisual works (e.g., videotapes).
  • Computer software.

Copyright protection begins at the moment of the work's creation. Copyright protections apply to a work regardless of whether the work’s author registers the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright protections also apply regardless of whether a work contains a copyright notice (e.g., the © symbol).

CalRecycle Trademarks

“CalRecycle” and the CalRecycle logo are CalRecycle’s registered trademarks and may not be used in connection with goods or services without CalRecycle’s permission. This restriction applies regardless of whether the use of such trademarks would also violate Business and Professions Code section 17533.6, discussed above.

In general, CalRecycle’s trademark rights protect against uses of its trademarks in a way that might confuse consumers as to the source of goods or services, or as to CalRecycle’s endorsement or approval of goods or services. Therefore, it is trademark infringement for a business to use a CalRecycle trademark in advertisements for goods or services if such usage would suggest that CalRecycle is offering the goods or services. Likewise, it is trademark infringement to incorporate a CalRecycle trademark directly into a product (e.g., a printed publication) if such use would falsely suggest that the product originated from CalRecycle.

Guidelines for Using CalRecycle Materials

CalRecycle encourages the public and private use of its materials in an effort to promote CalRecycle's goals of reuse, reduction, recycling, and safe disposal. Even if you have a right to obtain such materials under California’s laws concerning public records, your use of the material may raise some of the issues described above. As such, your use may be unlawful without CalRecycle’s permission. For example, CalRecycle’s permission is required to use CalRecycle materials in any of the following ways:

  • Using the CalRecycle logo in connection with goods or services, such as publications not created by CalRecycle.
  • Use of CalRecycle materials in connection with a commercial service in such a way that suggests an association with CalRecycle or CalRecycle’s endorsement of that service.
  • Using modified versions of materials that still appear to be CalRecycle materials (e.g., because they display the CalRecycle logo).

CalRecycle has made the following general determinations regarding use of its materials:

CalRecycle Logos. The CalRecycle logo may not be used without obtaining permission from CalRecycle. To request permission to use a logo and receive files, please follow the instructions below (“Permissions”).

CalRecycle Artwork, Posters, and Stickers. The modification or use of these materials, especially if such use relates to for-profit goods or services, may unlawfully suggest a connection with CalRecycle or CalRecycle’s approval or endorsement of goods and services. To request permission for a particular use of these materials, follow the instructions below (“Permissions”).

CalRecycle Publications (e.g., reports, studies, fact sheets, booklets, brochures, videos, web pages). Although CalRecycle publications are in the public domain, certain uses may violate the guidelines set forth above. It is recommended, therefore, that you obtain CalRecycle’s written permission before using any CalRecycle publication, especially if you intend to modify the publication, reproduce only a portion of it, or use it in connection with any other goods or services. To request permission for a particular use of these materials, follow the instructions below (“Permissions”).

Materials With No Use Restrictions. Statutes, regulations, regulatory guidelines, or reports to the Legislature are in the public domain and are not subject to any use restrictions.

Permission

To obtain permission to use CalRecycle materials, submit a written request to CalRecycle's Publications Manager. Describe the material you wish to use and the nature of its intended use, addressing the aforementioned guidelines where possible. If the information is on the Web, please include the URL(s) of the pages you are interested in. If it is a printed publication, include the title and publication number.

Email your request to opa@calrecycle.ca.gov or mail to:

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)
Office of Public Affairs
PO Box 4025
Sacramento, CA 95812-4025

For questions regarding use of CalRecycle materials, you may also contact the Office of Public Affairs at opa@calrecycle.ca.gov or (916) 341-6300.