Taking Photos of Products and Putting Them on My Blog

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Taking Photos of Products and Putting Them on My Blog

Post by SYMBION1 »


From the answer to my previous question about copyright concerning taking photos of magazines and putting them on my blog - does this also apply if I do the same with individual products ?

For example - on my blog - I have written articles about various health related issues and used a single product or item to reflect this.

So on the blog - these are some of the images I have taken with my iPhone :

1- ARTICLE ABOUT ENERGY DRINKS : I used a photo that I took at home of a can of Red Bull placed next to a can of Nurishment on top of my living room table against a cream coloured wall with hints of daylight.

2- ARTICLE ABOUT GLUTEN : I took a photo of a single Pritt Stick placed on top of my living room table to illustrate that the article is about gluten - hence the use of the item glue.

3- ARTICLE ABOUT WHETHER FAT IS GOOD OR BAD : I took a picture of a litre plastic bottle of vegetable oil I bought from Sainsburys and placed this on my living room table against a cream coloured background. I used the vegetable oil photo I took at home to illustrate what the article was about.

From the above - if I put items I bought from supermarkets or other places - on top of my living room table and take a photo on my iPhone for the purpose of illustrating what the article is about - is this copyright infringement of a brand name or product and if so - do I do the same thing as previous question and put a Section 30 notice on my blog ?

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi again.
I think that what you've described here is somewhat different from the situation in the other thread. If there is copyright in product packaging - and I am not convinced that a court would readily accept that this was so in every case - then the section 30 exemption I mentioned in the other thread would be of no assistance. This is because that fair dealing relies upon the review or criticism being directed at the work which is covered by copyright (the image or text etc), whereas in fact you would be speaking about the contents of the packaging, be it cooking oil or energy drink, which of course are not covered by copyright, and so the necessary linkage would be absent.
The more usual protection afforded to product packaging is to be found in trade mark law, and its near neighbour, known as passing off.
And of course I ought to say straight away that you would not be infringing any trade marks nor could your use of your own photographs of the products be claimed as passing off, simply because there would be no confusion in anyone's mind that you were selling rival goods to the products illustrated in your blog posts.
I know of only one case involving copyright in product packaging, and that had nothing to do with the sort of review you are talking about, as it involved one manufacturer copying the style of a photograph found on a rival's product, and even then, the decision in that case was contentious. The case is called Temple Island Collections Ltd v New English Teas Ltd [2012] EWPCC 1 should you wish to read it, but I don't think there are any useful parallels to be drawn between it and your question.
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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