Elixir logo license question

Hi There.

We are developing Open Source Donation System in South Korea.
(http://99nerds.io http://99nerds.io/)

We make stickers based on the open source logo to donate the world open source.
(We donate 10% of the amount we sell to that open source.)

So, we checked your open source logo license, but I can not find what the license is.

Would you please allow us to make stickers using your open source logo and donate the 10% amount to your open source.

I look forward to receiving a good reply.


Best regrars.


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There is no open source license as far as I can tell. README on Elixir’s Github repo states:

“Elixir” and the Elixir logo are copyright © 2012 Plataformatec.

and I did receive answer from @josevalim here back in a day:


Generally, I think you should get in touch with Jose or someone at Plataformatec for any usage of logo, comercially or otherwise.

And when it comes to name - I do not believe the statement in README that “Elixir” is copyrighted by Plataformatec true. It does not bear the required markings that it’s copyrighted on any web site or materials I saw. Most likely, according to your local law, you can use “Elixir” term in any context related to the language freely. If Plataformatec were to register it as a trademark, I can imagine the process being lengthy and very much costly, especially that the term is pretty popular and copyrighted as atrademark by other holders worldwide.

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Thanks @hubertlepicki!

Yes, we have been advised to not allow anyone to use the logo until the trademark process is done.

And when it comes to name - I do not believe the statement in README that “Elixir” is copyrighted by Plataformatec true.

Yes, names cannot be copyrighted. It can be trademarked though and a trademark is specific to the domain. We have books, perfumes, cosmetics, drinks all named Elixir. In the case above though, the copyright refers to the Elixir project but even though it is not clear if programming languages are copyrightable, see Google vs Oracle debate, and it may indeed depend on local laws.

There is also nominative fair use. But it won’t allow you to sell products with the Elixir logo.


Tangentially related - in terms of “Nominative fair use” presumably it would be acceptable to use the Elixir logo to represent Elixir itself in, for example, a non-commercial slide presentation on the language itself. In those use cases is there an official source for the logo… a “press kit”?

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From the Nubank acqui-hire blog post (emphasis mine):

For the Elixir programming language in particular, José Valim and the Elixir Core Team will continue developing and maintaining the programming language in the same capacity as they have been doing over the last few years, independently from Plataformatec and Nubank. We are in touch with the Elixir Core Team to transfer all assets, including the existing trademarks and the Elixir website, to their control.

How does this affect the Elixir logo usage? Was it ever trademarked? Will the core team own the rights to the logo? What about copyright, as it wasn’t mentioned in the post?

I understand there’s probably many more pressing issues currently going on with the core team, but I would appreciate if you could update this thread when there is more information. The license terms of the logo are a quite common question. Fair use laws do not exist in all countries AFAIK so it would help if there was some official word from the trademark / copyright owners. :slight_smile:

The Elixir logo is under a trademark process which has not finished yet - which is the reason why we haven’t released a document outlining the rules for the community to use it. Lawyers have confirmed we can transfer the trademark to a “LegalEntity” even if the trademark process has not finished it.

So the next steps are:

  • Figure out what will be the legal entity to own the trademarks
  • Transfer trademarks
  • Wait for trademark process to conclude
  • Release use guidelines

In regards to copyrights, it seems they can actually be a bit more complicated to transfer. But at the same time, it does not matter. It is easier to have two copyright notices on top of the LICENSE file:

Copyright 2012 Plataformatec
Copyright 2020 LegalEntity

The License will obviously continue the same.


Speaking as a person who does not know anything about copyright law (or legal issues in general) this sounds so silly…
So Plataformatec would still hold the copyright, and share it - so two entities have the right to copy. Seems fair, Plataformatec could create their own version of Elixir and market it, but then… they wouldn’t share it anymore? Both entities would have a language called “Elixir”?

Copyright laws are silly. No matter what the actual situation is, I just always think “the world hasn’t figured this out yet at all… we are like children discussing who is next to use the stick.”

On a sidenote: thank you @josevalim for still caring, I know you said you will still work on Elixir, but still. Just thank you.

So the reason why the copyright does not matter much is exactly because the Apache 2 License gives everyone license to copy, as long as you keep the copyright notices and state your changes. So there is nothing stopping you from forking the codebase and adding your own copyright notice that controls all of your own future additions:

Copyright 2012 Plataformatec
Copyright 2020 Ninigi

However, you cannot say this forked codebase is “Elixir” because Plataformatec currently owns the trademarks to the “Elixir” name and the “Elixir” logo.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah, I expected something like this to be the case. All the more reason to call it silly :slightly_smiling_face:

Updating this thread to post the Trademark policy that can now be found on the Elixir website: Trademarks policy - The Elixir programming language


Does that mean that the Elixir Logo would now be available for t-shirts etc in slightly altered form, as long as there is a clear reference to Elixir Language?

Where is all the merchandise now?

I don’t speak this kind of English… somebody help.

Right at the end it says:

Examples that require permission

Here are some examples that may be granted permission upon request:

  • Selling merchandise (stickers, t-shirts, mugs, etc).

You can request permission by emailing trademarks@elixir-lang.org.

I could have sworn it did not say that 2 hours ago… But thanks man