Using images on website to sell product

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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legalquery101
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Using images on website to sell product

Post by legalquery101 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:11 pm

Hi, ive been searching for an answer to this question but cannet seem to find any similar situation.

I am in the process of setting up an online clothing retailer. I am looking to use images from fashion blogs, pinterest and style/lifestyle websites to sell clothing items from my inventory that recreate the look in the photo.

Many of the photos I'd be looking to use would be from non professional sources. Would I have to approach each individual to get permission to use the image or can I just state who the owner of each image is.

Any help would be much appreciated.

__________________

e.g.

- Jane Smith posts an image of herself wearing a stylish outfit in her fashion blog.

- I would like to use that image on my website to sell my products that recreate/match Janes outfit. (jacket, leggings and shoes)

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:06 pm

Hi legalquery101,
Copyright will exist in just about every modern photograph that you find on the internet or in magazines, and you infringe that copyright if you use a digital copy of it on your site, unless you get permission.
Of course not every copyright owner will wish to enforce their rights, and many may not even know they have any such rights, but the problem is that unless they indicate this in some way, you won't know which is which.
There are a few exceptions when it is permissible to make and use copies, such as when it is purely for private study or research (which would exclude commercial use such as on your website) or for the purposes of criticism or review, but I don't think that definition could really be stretched to include the use you propose.
So really that leaves you with having to get permission for each image.
Unfortunately because of the diverse sources you want to use, there is no blanket licence which you can obtain to cover your use, unlike if, for instance, you sourced your images from print media, where collecting societies such as the Newspaper Licensing Agency or the Copyright Licensing Agency could probably provide a suitable licence.
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

jonnytravel
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Post by jonnytravel » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:13 pm

Pretty much everything out on the public domain is owned by someone. Using someone's image without permission is image theft and therefore constitutes copyright infringement.

As Andy J points out, not everyone enforces their copyright but that doesn't mean you cannot get done for it.

According to this page copyrighthandler.com/store/dmca-faq.html, the worst that can happen from infringing someone's copyright is that when they find out, they may take you to court (highly unlikely), demand a settlement fee (likely) or issue you with a DMCA or a cease and desist notice (most likely) to your ISP provider.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:09 pm

Hi Jonnytravel
Thanks for your interest in the CopyrightAid Forums. However I have to indicate to readers that the link you provided in the previous post needs to be treated with some caution.
First of all it looks at the issue of copyright and infringement just from the perspective of US law and so is of limited relevance to readers in other jurisdictions. Since the telephone number on the site connects to a UK mobile number this may strike some people as odd. Secondly much of what the site actually says is a loose interpretation of the (American) law and some of it is actually misleading. For instance:
if you want pursue a copyright infringement thru the courts you will need to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office
The only time you need to register your work before commencing US court action is if you are seeking statutory damages. If you want to take action in most other jurisdictions in the world, no registration is required. And furthermore copyright owners who are not based in the USA do not need to register in order to bring their case before the US courts.
And if one reads down the page, the actual purpose of the site and their 'advice' becomes clear: they are selling a set of services. I will leave it to readers to decide for themselves how necessary it is to pay out for these services. As the domain name of the site was only registered on 30 September 2013, it is probably too early to ask how successful their service has been to date in assisting their clients. However there is one good piece of advice on the site:
DISCLAIMER: Do not take action based on any information obtained from copyrighthandler.com without first consulting with your own attorney.
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

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