Prodct copywrite laws

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Prodct copywrite laws

Post by smellsgood »


I own a company that sells fragrances and the company's that own the fragrances aren't giving me any of their promotional/product images.

I really need images for use on my website. So I've asked around different companies and some advice is that I need to take a picture of the products myself when they have arrived and then put my own pictures on the website.

However, I've had some more information that I cannot do this as the shape/design of the bottles is copywrited and if I take a picture this is still copywrite infringement.

Any advice would be much appreciated please.

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi John,
It is most unlikely that the shape of the bottles will be copyright because it would not fall into the definition of an artistic work made by the 'sweat of the brow' of a craftsman, since they are mass-produced in a factory. The shape of the bottles could be subject to designright and/or trademark protection.
However, any company logos on the bottles or packaging could be subject to copyright, designright and trademark protection. It is the copyright aspect which is the most critical here. It might be worth considering photographing an advert in a magazine, since then the main copyright infringement would be of the magazine publisher's copyright and they are not likely to be concerned about it.
Since you are selling the real product it would be unlikely that any legal action for designright or trademark infringement would succeed since you are merely advertising that you have the product for sale, not producing a replica which would leave you open to an action for 'passing-off'.
What worries me is that if the company are unwilling to give you any promotional material, does this indicate that they are trying to stop you selling their products? I know that certain fragrance manufacturers tried to stop sales of their products on Ebay because they felt it undermined the status of their goods, and went so far as to tell Ebay that the fragrances being sold were fake when they were not. If they won't give you permission to use their promotional material, perhaps you should expect some other attempts to restrict your ability to sell their products. Clearly that would be a constraint of trade and something you might need professional legal advice on.
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