Reviewing advertisements?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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roxandy
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Reviewing advertisements?

Post by roxandy » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:48 pm

Hi, I work in the marketing industry and I'm looking at writing a series of on-line articles reviewing different companies advertising material. So for instance, showing a copy of an advert in a newspaper or magazine (or a direct mail leaflet) and pointing out where I think they could have improved, or what's good about it, that sort of thing. Problem is, if I have to seek permission every time, they are likely to say 'no' in case I criticise their work negatively.

Am I allowed to reproduce such things, obviously stating that they own the copyright, without getting permission?

Any advice appreciated.

Thanks

Andy

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:23 pm

Hi Andy,
I assume that you want to do this in the UK, and so UK law is what we need to apply.
Fortunately Section 30 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 exactly meets your needs:
30 Criticism, review and news reporting.

(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work has been made available to the public.

(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1) a work has been made available to the public if it has been made available by any means, including—
  • (a) the issue of copies to the public;

    (b) making the work available by means of an electronic retrieval system;

    (c) the rental or lending of copies of the work to the public;

    (d) the performance, exhibition, playing or showing of the work in public;

    (e)the communication to the public of the work,
but in determining generally for the purposes of that subsection whether a work has been made available to the public no account shall be taken of any unauthorised act.

(2) Fair dealing with a work (other than a photograph) for the purpose of reporting current events does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that (subject to subsection (3)) it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

(3) No acknowledgement is required in connection with the reporting of current events by means of a sound recording, film or broadcast where this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise.
This is very straightforward and does exactly what it says on the tin.
The section doesn't limit the quantity of the original you may reproduce, but it is implicit that you should only use sufficient to get your point across.
If you want to reproduce a whole page ad then I suggest you reduce it until it is sufficiently legible for the points you wish to discuss and no more. By keeping the resolution low you reinforce that fact you are only displaying the ad to demonstrate you point and for no other reason.
Make sure you credit the ad agency, if there is one, and the company behind the ad or flyer, to ensure you comply with subsection (2).
Just to make it clear to anyone viewing your website, you might include a small legal disclaimer saying that you are reproducing the ads under the Section 30 exemption, and that the companies involved do not endorse your site.
Good luck with the project.
Last edited by AndyJ on Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

roxandy
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Post by roxandy » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:51 am

Thanks Andy!

That's a great help.

I guess my only hurdle would be identifying the agencies behind the ads - but the ads are presumably the copyright of the brand owners anyway?

Thanks again

Andy

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