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Copyright Question ????????
Old 11-01-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
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Copyright Question ????????

If I copy and save a picture of a guitar, camera, motorcycle, widget or anything off a manufacture's website and then use that picture for posting and showing the picture as the item I am selling on craigslist, is that a copyright infringement or does that come under the "fair use" public domain category ?


Appreciate any and all comments.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #2
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Probably infringement of the photographer's copyright in the picture. If everyone took photos for free, there would be no market for the photographer - which pretty much takes the situation out of fair use.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frayne View Post
If I copy and save a picture of a guitar, camera, motorcycle, widget or anything off a manufacture's website and then use that picture for posting and showing the picture as the item I am selling on craigslist, is that a copyright infringement or does that come under the "fair use" public domain category ?

Appreciate any and all comments.
Each website has different terms of use. Within the site you may see different copyright applied to separate photos.

Even if you don't see a copyright or other mark, the image can still be copyrighted by someone else.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:18 AM   #4
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I should add that, if the manufacturer or photographer cares, it may send you a cease and desist notice and possibly seek damages against you. As a copyright lawyer, I have sent many such notices on behalf of manufacturers who found their catalogue photos were being used without permission by resellers on eBay or Craigslist.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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Why not just take a picture of your own item and use that, to avoid any potential copyright infringement consequences?
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:19 AM   #6
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The image is almost certainly copyrighted by either the photographer, website owner, or manufacturer.

I don't believe there is a fair use exception for using a product photo on Craigslist or eBay etc.

In any case I routinely ignore listings that do not have a picture of the actual item.

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Old 11-01-2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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As Target2019 says, it is always a good idea to check a website's Terms of Service, but I guarantee you that Craigslist's TOS does not allow the posting of others' photographs without permission.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
Why not just take a picture of your own item and use that, to avoid any potential copyright infringement consequences?
+1. Correct.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TimSF View Post
I should add that, if the manufacturer or photographer cares, it may send you a cease and desist notice and possibly seek damages against you. As a copyright lawyer, I have sent many such notices on behalf of manufacturers who found their catalogue photos were being used without permission by resellers on eBay or Craigslist.
I'm curious as to why the manufacturer would care? It seems like good publicity for their product.

Or is this a case of, if you let some people use them and never complain, you might loose your claim to them, so you defend every violation as a matter of rule, rather than whether you 'care' or not for an individual case?

-ERD50
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:43 AM   #10
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It isn't fair use. A buyer would rather see a picture of the actual item, I would think. The manufacturer isn't making a penny off your resale.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:45 AM   #11
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The photographer will care. He created an image of a product using his skills. If you profit by using his image to make the product you are selling look good then you should compensate him.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
Why not just take a picture of your own item and use that, to avoid any potential copyright infringement consequences?
+1.

Buyers prefer to see pictures of the actual item anyway, so you'd be killing two birds with one stone .
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:00 PM   #13
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It isn't fair use. A buyer would rather see a picture of the actual item, I would think. The manufacturer isn't making a penny off your resale.
Well, maybe not directly. But when I buy NEW stuff, I consider resale value. Not so much because I intend to sell, but if the used stuff holds value, that means people like it, and so I figure I'll probably like it too.

To the OP's question, it's probably not 100% ligit, but I'm sure they have better things to do than to go after people using stock photos of their products.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
+1.

Buyers prefer to see pictures of the actual item anyway, so you'd be killing two birds with one stone .

It is a hypothetical question as I could easily take a picture of the item. To be a bit more specific, lets say I am selling different types of widgets and I have developed a website showing of all the types of widgets produced in the U.S. I may end up buying the widget from the manufacturer or a retail distributor depending availability and where I could purchase the widget. I want to use the manufacture's stock pictures and descriptions of the different widgets. If I do not get permission from the manufacturer to use their picture is that copyright infringement ? Yes, no, or possible/potential repercussions ?
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:25 PM   #15
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I'm curious as to why the manufacturer would care? It seems like good publicity for their product.
I don't think the manufacturer would care in most cases and might actually be happy. I also suspect that almost all large companies will own the copyright of product photos (I'm talking generic photos on white background ) instead of the photographer.

However the company would still own the copyright thus have control over reproduction. So they could object although I think it unlikely.



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Old 11-01-2014, 01:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I'm curious as to why the manufacturer would care? It seems like good publicity for their product.

Or is this a case of, if you let some people use them and never complain, you might loose your claim to them, so you defend every violation as a matter of rule, rather than whether you 'care' or not for an individual case?

-ERD50
Yes to the second part. To the first part, many manufacturers brand owners want to ensure that they and their sales channels are clearly distinguished and identifiable. They attribute a value to that and see any unauthorized association as degrading to brand value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frayne View Post
It is a hypothetical question as I could easily take a picture of the item. To be a bit more specific, lets say I am selling different types of widgets and I have developed a website showing of all the types of widgets produced in the U.S. I may end up buying the widget from the manufacturer or a retail distributor depending availability and where I could purchase the widget. I want to use the manufacture's stock pictures and descriptions of the different widgets. If I do not get permission from the manufacturer to use their picture is that copyright infringement ? Yes, no, or possible/potential repercussions ?
I'm not a lawyer but I did work in marketing and the product images are definitely protected. Not all companies pursue action but they have the right to do so.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:35 PM   #17
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Several have asked a good question about why manufacturers would care. Michael B. has given a good response, to which I agree and will add a few comments.

The degree to which brand owners care will depend on various factors. Manufacturers of high-end or luxury items are more likely to care about the unauthorized copying and use of their branded product photos than, say, those who make low-end, functional widgets. Also, manufacturers’ propensity to care may depend on the use to which the photo is being put -- e.g., used to sell something versus used to provide information. But, in my experience, in nearly all contexts manufacturers usually do care to some extent about the unauthorized use of their catalogue photos, for various reasons, such as (1) they do not want their photos used by someone who may be selling fraudulent, irregular, or unwarranted items; (2) they do not like that fact there is an unauthorized resale market in their branded products and do not want to unwittingly contribute to the market by providing photographs to help it; or (3) they simply believe on principle that it is not right for people to free-ride on others’ creative work. If the manufacturer has any reason not to like the business of the photo-user, it may try to use the copyright objection as a means to hindering the business. Of course, it is always possible to ask the manufacture for permission to use the photograph in advance, but if it is for a commercial use, I can pretty much guarantee that permission will be denied unless the manufacturer approves of the use.
The precise legal question by OP is not close. Under copyright laws, one may not copy and use a product photo in the ways described by OP. The same principles generally apply to text description of products; however, there, the issue will be closer depending on various factors, such as whether there is sufficient creativity in the product description to warrant copyrightability in the first place (typically, there is). Even with text, it would be prudent to change the wording a little bit before posting. For those interested in reading about fair use in the copyright law, just plug “17 USC 107” into a Google search.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:55 PM   #18
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I buy lots of stuff on eBay, and am far more likely to buy an item that shows pictures the current owner has taken of the actual item. When I see generic photos that were obviously taken from the web, I get a bad feeling about what I might actually be receiving.

So if I'm going to decide between two similarly priced items, and one has a generic shot while the other has an actual photo (even if it's amateurish and poorly lit), I'll usually go for the one with the "real" photo.
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:45 PM   #19
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How about posting a link to the online photo, telling your potential customers that it is a link to an official manufacturer image of their product, not your particular item for sale?
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:14 PM   #20
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How about posting a link to the online photo, telling your potential customers that it is a link to an official manufacturer image of their product, not your particular item for sale?
That still won't cut it.

Generally, the instant the shutter clicks the copyright to the photo is owned by the photographer (to make it clear, that's the person holding the camera or who put it on a tripod, and no one else) unless it is there is a contract for "work for hire" which most pros are loathe to sign off on anyway.

How enforceable is that copyright? Well, if the guy is a pro and registers his photos with the copyright office, you may very well find yourself deep in financial doo-doo.

See http://thecopyrightzone.com/

One of those guys is a pro photographer, and the other is a full time copyright attorney Their book is on my bookshelf and I've read it twice. (BTW, I've read up on this stuff, and to me it seems like TimSF knows whereof he speaks).

When you hire a photographer most often what you're getting for your money, just as in software licensing, is a license to use that photo or photos for a specific purpose, for a specific circulation, and for a specific period of time.

If someone else wants to use that photo, then you have to pay the photographer for a license that use. Now, sometimes this is remarkably cheap - $1 for for a catalog photo on one of the dollar sites, but it is a legitimate license.

But do not ever just take a photo off the Internet and then use it in your advertising. If the guy is pro, and followed all the registration protocols, to repeat, you may very well end up owing a photographer (and his attorney) well into five figures.

BTW, the book is recommended reading for anyone with even a slight interest it the subject. There is a huge amount of misinformation about it floating around.

Here's a link to a video they made on the topic, a bit over an hour long but it is not a simple subject.

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