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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Photos of Business Signs Violation of Copyright?
Is it OK to use my own photo of a copyrighted logo?

 12:05 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm having trouble getting clarity on this legal issue.

Let's say I have a website article about how to open a karate instruction business.

I write the article and post it, but wouldn't it be nice to have a photo of a karate instruction company's business sign in it to enhance the article?

So, I take a picture of a local karate instruction business and embed it in the article. I don't imply with words that they endorse the article or had any input in the content.

Other relevant facts are that there are ads on the article page, so it's commercial in nature.

Have I violated any laws by doing this? Am I breaking copyright laws, invasion of privacy laws or any such thing?

Tried to find the answer via New Google, but no luck. So, I figured I'd ask you smart folks for the answer and help Brett to rank for this question when others search for queries like "fair use business sign" or "photo of business sign trademark issues"

I think I know the answer to this -- in fact, while writing this I've convinced myself that I better not use these images -- but may as well put this out there, so that others can find the answer in the future.

Thanks for any input.



 12:20 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Check source and simply ask. Does not hurt...


 1:16 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

personally i think morally you should link to their website from the photo.

i do this kind of thing all the time and i actually believe it helps me, people are generally so scared to link out, but i think they are wrong, there is nothing wrong with linking out.

re the copyrighted logo, i'm not a lawyer but if you use a photo that shows more than just the logo, eg a shop front then i shouldn't think there would be a problem.


 1:36 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Also, add coyright notice at your footer place that image is from link....


 2:28 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, I take a picture of a local karate instruction business and embed it in the article.

I wouldn't do that.

Play it safe and create an image of your own using some graphics program.


 8:49 pm on Mar 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

I'm opting not to use them because I was recently sued for $1,000,000 because I published some public information about SBA loan data. Case was dismissed but it was a huge pain.

As I was typing in the post above, I had an epiphany -- don't be stupid, AGAIN.

So, I'm definitely going to play it safe. I'm going to crop out everything but "karate shop" and eliminate any logos or proprietary names.

Crazy people will sue you for any reason whatsoever.

If anybody is a web publisher and reads this, by the way, you should buy media liability insurance to avoid lawsuit liability -- I learned it the hard way, flying without a net for years.

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