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Unless specifically approved by the Royal Canadian Legion, readers of this newspaper will no longer see the poppy symbol as part of Remembrance Day advertisements.
A TC•Media newspaper publisher received a letter earlier this week from the Legion’s Dominion Command to stop publishing any advertisements containing the poppy symbol.
Bill Maxwell, the secretary of the Poppy and Remembrance Committee, says use of the poppy symbol must be approved, noting that it is a registered trademark of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“Requests for commercial ads would not be approved,” he wrote.
Contacted at his Ottawa office, Maxwell says the Legion takes its role as protector of the poppy image very seriously.
He noted that even local Legion branches must apply for permission to use the poppy image.
“It is our job to ensure it is used appropriately,” said Maxwell. “Each case is judged on its own merits.”
The Legion has issued a 62-page poppy manual that in part deals with issues surrounding use of the image.
In that manual, situations where usage would be considered by the committee include Remembrance-themed public service announcements, on church bulletins, for educational use, on veterans monuments and within commemorative parks, street signs and banners to recognize commemorative events.
In general, newspapers are allowed to use the poppy image for Remembrance Day features that do not feature advertisements.
Uses that the poppy image would not be accepted for include on any clothing items, music CDs, or commemorative items like car magnets. Tattoos featuring the poppy image are also specifically prohibited.
Maxwell says most people use the poppy image with the best intentions, but are unaware of the Legion’s policies.
Western Nova Scotia group publisher Fred Fiander says the notice came as a surprise to him.
“We have been respectfully using the poppy image as part of our Remembrance Day features for many years,” he said. “I’m disappointed, but we will certainly comply and I’ve asked our sales managers to immediately halt usage of the symbol.”
Maxwell says most people are understanding and cooperate with the Legion when asked.
Maxwell notes that the copyright provisions do not apply to the use of the actual Poppy flower (with stems, etc.) except when the flower is used in the Remembrance context. Such usage would then be reviewed by the Legion.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a clarification from the Legion. Our newspapers will be allowed to use the poppy symbol on our masthead, in Remembrance Day stories, veteran's obituaries and on any Remembrance Day coverage.