Should I Put The Presidential Seal On My Amazon Products?Presidential Seal

The 2016 Presidential Election has been the most, or if not, one of the most controversial elections of all time.

Like any modern election, the media has played an enormous role, and today more than ever we see people who are willing to go to great lengths to showcase their support and viewpoints towards certain candidates and policies.

Many Amazon Sellers have come to realize this phenomenon, and regardless of their personal political views, have found ways to capitalize on customer desire to buy politically charged products like T-shirts, mugs, sweatshirts, hats or even toilet paper (printed with their least favorite candidates face on every sheet).

While it may not be a bad idea to jump on board and capitalize on our nation’s desire to broadcast their political views, there is one key limitation to be aware of:

Why Amazon Sellers Should Not Use The Presidential Seal On Products:

The presidential seal features an eagle, surrounded by stars and a golden circle. It would look great on a t-shirt or mug, but doing so has serious repercussions.

According to Federal law (specifically; 18 U.S.C. §713(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, 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.”

Exceptions to the above are limited. There have been executive orders allowing the use of the Presidential and other Federal Government seals, but the use is limited to educational and historical settings, or use by news media. In addition, under Executive Order 11649, further exceptions can be granted by the White House Counsel, but these grants are rare.

So, while it might be perfectly allowable to find a manufacturer to supply you with a product bearing the face of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, you cannot print a shirt bearing the presidential seal or any other government owned intellectual property.

If you do, you could face hefty fines, or possibly even jail time, should the United States choose to prosecute.