Possible copyright issues with pictures in blog posts

by zsolt 13 replies
I would like to find out if it's possible to insert a picture into your blog post without violating copy right issues. I am not at all knowledgable in this area, so I see out the expertise of warrior members.

Let's say I start a blog about telescopes, binoculars and similar items. Most of the post would be news and reviews, also some tutorials. It's only logical that if you review or post news about a telescope let's say, you will want to include a picture or two of it. And this is where I am unsure how to go about that.

Can I just save the pictures from the vendor's website and include it into my post (referring back to the original website of course, in the form of website name and url under the included photo)?

Or is it better if instead of downloading the picture, I place an image tag into the post that displays the picture directly from the original website? This way I won't have to download it, but there could be other issues, like if the owner ever decides to remove the picture my blog will get messed up because the pictures won't display anymore.

Or will I have to negotiate with the owner of the site where I wish to include pictures from into my blog on each instant?

There are a lot of blog out there about gadget, consumer electronics and the like, with pictures in the posts. How do they do it?

Thanks,
Zsolt
#main internet marketing discussion forum #blog #copyright #issues #pictures #posts
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Check with the individual vendor. Some may have a media or press section where they'll provide photos to be used. Just check their TOS and ask if you don't find the answers to your questions.
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    • Profile picture of the author zsolt
      Thanks guys. I will start by going through the TOS of those website, see if they have anything to say about the copyrights of their photos.
      I don't need generic photos, but rather photos of the exact models, so iStockphoto is not an option in this regard. And this is not an affiliate site either, just a news and review site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    I would like to find out if it's possible to insert a picture into your blog post without violating copy right issues.
    Yes if:

    1. You took the picture and own the copyright
    2. You have express permission from the copyright owner
    3. You purchased a license from an entity authorized to provide you rights to publish the image
    4. The image is in the public domain

    There are other possibilities too but above are good basic guidelines.

    If you find a picture online, and the owner of the copyright did not specifically give you permission or offer permission publicly or offer permission for sale and you paid you best not use the image.
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    • Profile picture of the author George Wright
      So Josh,

      Using your example one could take a picture of a can of coke or a bottle of wine and use that picture because they took it. This seems like a great work around for anyone who needs product pictures. It would probably save time as it would be much faster than waiting for permission or searching the "unclear" TOS.

      Thanks,
      George Wright

      Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

      Yes if:

      1. You took the picture and own the copyright
      2. You have express permission from the copyright owner
      3. You purchased a license from an entity authorized to provide you rights to publish the image
      4. The image is in the public domain

      There are other possibilities too but above are good basic guidelines.

      If you find a picture online, and the owner of the copyright did not specifically give you permission or offer permission publicly or offer permission for sale and you paid you best not use the image.
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      "The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book." Mickey Spillane
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    • Profile picture of the author Lee Jones
      Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

      Yes if:

      1. You took the picture and own the copyright
      Got to be really careful with copyright issues, even if you have taken the picture yourself, and on your own camera.

      A few years ago I was selling a printed item on ebay of a very famous person in the states, (cannot go into more details for legal reasons) who gladly posed for me......... Real nice of him I thought!

      and then I got into some real serious sh**

      Even though I had taken the picture, they claimed interlectual property rights on the image and had to cease using the image immediately.

      So even if you think you have permission, make sure you get it in writing, before using anything!
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      • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
        Lee is right...

        There is more to it...

        Taking pictures of copyrighted work can get you in trouble too.

        So Josh,

        Using your example one could take a picture of a can of coke or a bottle of wine and use that picture because they took it. This seems like a great work around for anyone who needs product pictures. It would probably save time as it would be much faster than waiting for permission or searching the "unclear" TOS.

        Thanks,
        George Wright
        Taking your own pictures is a great way to stay clear of many issues... however you also need to be careful that the pictures that you take:

        1. Do not violate copyright by photographing and displaying copyrighted work in other ways. To avoid this your photos should be original work.

        2. Do not violate privacy and other rights of individuals etc. In some cases you may need permission to use photos of individuals.

        3. Do not violate trademark. Ie example of photographing a coke bottle above.

        So complicated isn't it?
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        • Profile picture of the author zsolt
          It is getting more and more complicated as we keep discussing it.

          Bottom line is, I should always ask for a (written) premission before I use anybody's picture on my site, right?
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  • Originally Posted by zsolt View Post

    I would like to find out if it's possible to insert a picture into your blog post without violating copy right issues. I am not at all knowledgable in this area, so I see out the expertise of warrior members.

    Let's say I start a blog about telescopes, binoculars and similar items. Most of the post would be news and reviews, also some tutorials. It's only logical that if you review or post news about a telescope let's say, you will want to include a picture or two of it. And this is where I am unsure how to go about that.

    Can I just save the pictures from the vendor's website and include it into my post (referring back to the original website of course, in the form of website name and url under the included photo)?

    Or is it better if instead of downloading the picture, I place an image tag into the post that displays the picture directly from the original website? This way I won't have to download it, but there could be other issues, like if the owner ever decides to remove the picture my blog will get messed up because the pictures won't display anymore.

    Or will I have to negotiate with the owner of the site where I wish to include pictures from into my blog on each instant?

    There are a lot of blog out there about gadget, consumer electronics and the like, with pictures in the posts. How do they do it?

    Thanks,
    Zsolt
    I have exactly the same question. My only options are:

    1. Hunt and buy stock photos from stock.xchng - the leading free stock photography site

    2. Hire a trustworthy graphics designer to do it for me.

    So far, I am still undecided on which way to go. I would really like to spice up my blog in some way

    Arindam
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  • Originally Posted by Tom Borowski View Post

    Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice but merely a personal opinion.

    ---

    The way I go about this is I use product images from merchants who's affiliate programs I promote. These images are mainly so-called box shots for software or ebook covers. Strictly speaking this might be considered a copyright infringement, but in effect I'm promoting the copyright owner's products so they'll likely not have a problem with it. This may not be true for every merchant, but I haven't had a problem so far.
    I always ask the merchant concerend before I copy or use any of their images in my promotions. Like you said, not all merchants are equal.

    Arindam
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  • Profile picture of the author DeenaEsq
    As it has been said, all images are copyrighted by the copyright holder(usually the photographer of the picture). Unless they're public domain or you have permission, you usually have a problem.

    However, because you're using the manufacturer's photos of the products for the purpose of commentary and critique, you may fall within one of the fair use exceptions under 17 USC 107. That is how critique sites are able to use other people's photos in instances like this. It would be better if you could get permission or take your own photos though...

    Very often, manufacturers will gladly give you permission to use their photos if you ask, particularly because you're reviewing their product.

    Good luck.

    Deena
    __________________________________________________ _____

    Any opinions are offered without knowledge of the specific law of your jurisdiction and with only the limited information provided in your post. No advice given here should be reasonably relied upon by you or any third party without consulting an attorney who is aware of all of the facts and law surrounding your situation. Any advice given here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship in any way.
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    • Profile picture of the author sylviad
      To be absolutely safe, simply contact the maker of the product and explain how you plan to use a photo and would they provide one for you (or can you use one on their site). They would be dumb not to approve use of a photo on a review site when it will give them free publicity.

      One thing to consider if you choose to take the photos yourself. You will still be photographing a copyright, ie: the logo or trade name. When you use such images commercially, you could get into trouble.

      Best to go straight to the main man... the publicity officer at the company that owns the copyright, like if you want to show an IBM computer showing the IBM logo, you'd want to contact IBM's publicity dept. for approval. If the publicity dept. can't give you that approval, they will know who you should contact within the company.

      This cuts a lot of corners, like finding, using and paying for legal advice or looking for photos from stock sites or elsewhere online, or setting up and taking your own photos.

      You can never be safer than by getting approval from the copyright owner directly.

      Case in point. I wanted to offer a free report with another product I was promoting. The report was owned by a branch of government. They gave me approval to put the report on my own host server to let people download it. However... they did include specific limitations into how I could offer and use that report.

      When you seek approval from the copyright holder, you will probably receive strict guidelines for use of those photos, which is very important.

      Since the company will probably be more than happy to oblige, it makes the most sense all around.


      Sylvia
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      • Profile picture of the author zsolt
        Thanks a lot. So, the conclusion is that I should contact the owner of the copyright. Sounds sensible, I think.

        However, I am not 100% sure about whom I should write to, the distributor who has all the pictures on his site, or the manufacturer who made the telescopes and has his logo and name on them?
        Or both?

        Thanks!
        Zsolt
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