Copyright Infringement

The U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program provides all U.S. Rotary and Rotaract clubs and districts with general liability and directors & officers / employment practices liability insurance.

Rotary districts continue to post images and other media (cartoons, songs, etc) online in disregard of copyright laws, resulting in a considerable increase in claims activity under the U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program ("Program"). Over 40% of the Program's open claims now pertain to copyright infringement.

Copyright owners hire companies offering software that "trolls" the internet in search of copyright violations involving their images or other media. These companies are commonly referred to as copyright trolls. When a troll finds a violation, they contact the party who mis-used the image or other media and make a demand to settle the violation. Failure to respond to the demand increases the difficulty of resolving the claim.

It is your Rotary district's responsibility to comply with copyright laws.

Here is what your Rotary district can do to prevent receiving a notice of copyright infringement:


  • Review your Rotary district's social media accounts and websites and delete any content using images or other media where you do not have the copyright owner's permission. This includes bulletins, newsletters, and other documents and forms, even if they are 10+ years old.

  • Contact Risk Management immediately if your Rotary district receives a notice of copyright infringement. The Program may provide coverage depending on the way the image or other media was used.

Going Forward:

  • Instead of lifting images or other media off the internet, use images or other media created by members of your Rotary district (first receive their permission) or use the Rotary Brand Center.

  • Never use images or other media without permission.

  • Purchase images or other media online.

  • Consult the United States Copyright Office's website.

Nearly a decade ago, while I was the chair of the Strengthen Rotary’s Brand Committee, we conducted in-depth research to better understand how the public viewed Rotary, our members, and our work. What we learned was that we needed to reposition the Rotary brand by focusing on clear, consistent messages and a unified visual identity.

Based on the committee’s recommendation, the Board of Directors approved new brand guidelines, which included how clubs should use the Rotary logo. Simply put, club logos should include the club name either above or below the Rotary logo, like this:
A brand is more than just a logo, but a logo is a big part of our visual identity. When the public sees it throughout their community, they begin to think of Rotary members as people of action. Using the same visual elements unites Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact and allows us, as a diverse global organization, to tell our story with one voice.

The RI Board of Directors is asking every club to update its logo to align with Rotary’s brand guidelines. We are asking you, as the district public image chair, to:
  • Help clubs in your district understand why we all need to use the Rotary logo correctly
  • Show clubs how to create their own logo and use it consistently on their website, social media accounts, and other marketing materials, like banners, brochures, signs, and clothing
You can use the resources below, as well as those in the newly updated Brand Center, for assistance. I also encourage you to contact your Rotary public image coordinator and their team for additional guidance and support. They are eager to help.

This year, my Imagine Impact tour will highlight how Rotary members are creating positive, lasting change while it also introduces Rotary to new audiences and potential partners. This is where I need your help. Think of how much more impact these stories will have when they’re shared with one global voice!

Let’s continue to help our clubs attract the next generation of people of action as we increase our impact around the world.

Thank you for your support.

Jennifer Jones
RI President, 2022-23
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