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legal blogging question

  • hi,

    not sure where the proper spot on this forum is for this question so here goes. i’m starting a food blog and i’ll be using the google adsense ads on my blog, meaning i hope to make a bit of money from my blog.

    that said, i’ll be posting images of food items on my blog that’ll be taken from the company’s sites to add more pizazz to my blog (example: product pic of a cereal box of cereal i’m eating, or a product pic of top ramen – because i eat way too much of that stuff, etc). since i didn’t take these images, and i am essentially promoting and giving free advertising for these items i’ll be putting up pics of, am i legally allowed to do that?

    please help.

    thanks.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Hi,

    no, you are not allowed to use copyrighted pictures. It’s very much illegal, unless you have the explicit permission of the copyright owner. In the case of brandnames that’s even more strict.

    Thus, I’d – at the very least – shoot the photos yourself.

    And Google is quite adverse to copyright infringements.

    I’m not a lawyer, but in general, taking someone else’s material (whether it’s images or text) and putting it on your site without permission is a violation of copyright laws and is generally not a good thing to do.

    Taking your own pictures of food would be safer, and might also make your site more individual….

    i am basically promoting or advertising their images, and people hot link images all the time, but i understand from a law perspective why this is a no-no.

    i wish there were a legal workaround for promoting a product, which is basically exactly what i’ll be doing. you know?

    A couple of suggestions:

    1. Will thumbnail-sized screenshots of company/product sites work for you? Those would certainly be legal.
    2. See if the company/product site has a press or public relations section that provides images for use by the press. Those would be legal to use.

    hi,

    good point in suggestion #2! i’ll look into that.

    and for point #1, so if i go to their website and use their thumbnails of the images that link to their site, that would be legal?

    For retailers and reviewers there are usually open-ended agreements regarding the use of product images. Check with one of the companies and you’ll probably learn the only problem will be if you alter or misrepresent the image/product.

    I did this with Domino’s once. Their attorney’s position was if it moves their product, don’t touch it. If more people see their product, don’t touch it.

    … and people hot link images all the time, but i understand from a law perspective why this is a no-no.

    Because “people hot link all the time” that makes it ok? Sorry just like copying someones images without permission that is theft of the other sites bandwidth.

    Hot linking should be avoided also just to prevent the possibility of legal problems.

    If you’re using the images for the purposes of criticism or commentary, then it’s usually Fair Use and you can use the images. For example, posting a picture of a cereal box alongside a review of that cereal would qualify as Fair Use of the image.

    gfgirl,

    I meant (in my #1 suggestion above) to make a screenshot of the homepage for the company/product and use a thumbnail-sized version of that. A lackluster option, I know, but if all else fails…

    otto42,

    that’s what i was thinking, that i am “reviewing” the product in a way.

    i really do want to make money on my blog (with google advertising) and i dont want to step on anyone’s toes legally with copyright infringement obviously.

    it’s true, places online like amazon, epinions, yelp.com all post images of the product/etc people are reviewing.

    Hi again,

    places like amazon, epinions etc. maybe ask. You don’t know whether or not they do.

    If your review is negative you could find yourself at the wrong end of such selfassurance.

    Ask for permission or take yourself photos. That’s the only sure way.

    Most vendors will gladly supply images for advertising purposes. Few will object to “free” advertising of their products. However, in order to avoid copyright issues, you should NEVER assume that it is OK to use copyrighted or trademarked material without permission even if your use creates positive “spin” for the vendor. Making such an assumption could leave you open to legal problems.

    Cover your youknowwhat.

    DD

    I would simply take the pictures myself. Not only will you avoid all worries, but you can then personalize the photos. This will offer way more freedom of expression.

    Example: You try a new cereal but cannot stomach it at all — you could take a picture of the cereal box in your garbage can and use that. Fun, Creative and more expressive of your actual opinion.

    Good luck!

    Even TV shows use “lookalike” or taped-off products (so the logos don’t show, but you still know what it is)… You could even put up your own photo in the “about” section with one of those black bars across your eyes… just to get comical with it.

    Up to you, but I think there are many alternatives to just ripping off their images…

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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