What Has Senator Orrin Hatch Said about Signage?

In 1998, the former Signage Foundation for Communication Excellence presented its National Sign Users’ Conference on Sign Regulation and Marketing, in conjunction with the International Sign Association and its Sign Expo ’98 tradeshow. The keynote speaker at the conference was Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The following are some highlights from his address. “My topic today […]

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What Does Amortization Mean for Signage?

Amortization concerns the compensation for a sign that is no longer in compliance when a sign code changes. The theory is, if a sign is allowed to exist for a certain period of time, the owner of it will recoup their investment before the sign has to be removed, which is a way of circumventing the […]

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What are Some Recommendations for Regulating Temporary Signage?

Writing sign codes can be challenging for city planners and administrators who have had no formal training abut the nuances of on-premise signage. But a sub-category of this task, writing regulations specifically for temporary signage, presents an even more perplexing problem. Wendy Moeller, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based planner (AICP), who recently served as president of the […]

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What Has the Supreme Court Said About On-premise Signage?

Supreme Court cases that involve on-premise signage The 1st Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. […]

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How Does the Copyright Protection of the 1982 Lanham Act Affect Signs?

The Lanham Act, also known as the Trademark Act, was originally passed in 1946. It has been revised several times since then, including 1982, when it was revised by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to prevent cities/municipalities from requiring businesses to alter federally registered trademarks. Section 1121(b) of the act states: “No state or other jurisdiction of […]

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Is Your Sign Code Content Neutral? Reed v. Gilbert Warns it Should Be

Quite often, sign codes are primarily governed by their definitions. Many of the definitions are about types of signs: temporary, projecting, banners, fascia, freestanding, pole-mounted, etc. Quite often, however, signs are defined by their content: political, real estate, commercial, yard sale, etc. If a sign is blank, you can still tell what kind of sign it […]

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Street Graphics

The following article was written in 2005. In 1971, the American Planning Assn. (APA) began distributing a book by Daniel Mandelker and William Ewald entitled Street Graphics and the Law. That book recommended the uncompensated taking of signs and control of a sign’s design, message and aesthetics. While the sign industry was making great strides […]

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How Broadview Heights, Ohio Ignored Content Neutrality

In terms of ignoring “content neutrality,” call it “North Olmsted, Part II.” The following article, written by FASI Executive Director Wade Swormstedt, originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Signs of the Times magazine.   Broadview Heights, OH, is roughly 21 miles away from North Olmsted, OH. In terms of First Amendment ignorance (or perhaps […]

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Content Neutrality Violations Noted in Michigan

The landmark content-neutrality/prior-restraint ruling from North Olmsted is cited in Thomas Township. The message cannot determine the medium. With modest apologies to Marshall McLuhan, when the medium is signage, the courts have bestowed kid-glove treatment upon content neutrality, while wholeheartedly endorsing the tenets of North Olmsted (see ST, December 1999, page 52, and April 2000, […]

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