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Travel Industry: Can I take photo and use it on my site?
non-affiliate sites

 9:34 pm on Aug 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi folks,
I have a website that allows visitors to review hotels, condos, beach houses, etc for a local beach town. Just think of it like Amazon where you can see a photo of the item and then reviews below the product description.

I have joined with affiliates like ian.com where they provide photos and content of various hotels, condos, etc that you can use for your website. However, not all the condos are listed there and therefore I have manually searched for individual condo owner's websites and taken their photos of the condo and posted them on my site. They are trying to get people to rent their units and I am trying to help them, except I am allowing visitors to review the unit on my website.

Does anyone know if you have to get permission to use their photos or can you just go to joe blow's website and take his condo photos and post them on your site? Of course, I am providing a direct link back to their website and giving them exposure.....but I dont' know if someone may not want me to use their photos? My defense is that since they posted the photos on the internet for all to see, then they wouldn't mind me posting them on my site. I really do not wanna have to email each condo owner individuallly because there are literally hundreds.

Any advice? Anyone in similiar shoes? Thanks.


The Contractor

 9:47 pm on Aug 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know if you have to get permission to use their photos


My defense is that since they posted the photos on the internet for all to see, then they wouldn't mind me posting them on my site.

Your defense is flawed ;) If you took a picture of your child and placed it online on your family site - would it be OK if I took it and used it? Since you are putting your website online for the world to see is it OK if I make a copy and put it on my site?

That being said, I doubt very much someone would complain under the circumstances you are intending to use them for. If they do - remove them ASAP and then talk to them about it.


 10:07 pm on Aug 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

As The Contractor points out, asking permission is essential - whether taking pics from a website or a camera.

As far as the latter is concerned it's worth being aware that the whole subject of 'travel/public' photography is increasingly a very confusing one. Much legislation has been put forward around the world in recent years that seeks to restrict (for that read: control) the rights of those wishing to use images of almost anything.

I would recommend searching for any resources around the words: photography legislation +(subject matter).

One such resource is www.photopermit.org [photopermit.org]. There are plenty more to be used as starting points.



 10:46 pm on Aug 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

As someone that runs a review site, I can tell you that you do not want to assume that everyone will be happy with even a positive review. There are people that would get upset with a line like "While the view was nice in June, it was not as spectacular as it is in the fall when the leaves are changing color".

So you do not want to give them any more ammunition to file a lawsuit than simpley being upset with the review.

Actually, you should be going out of your way to contact those owners. Make them aware of your site, and even give them a way to comment about upcoming events. Give them a way to link to those reviews from their sites. Let them know when you are visiting the area to do "research" and see what sort of perks you get.


 11:55 pm on Aug 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks, yea I'm going to try and get permission.

Can I still list their properties on my site or do I need to also contact them about that too?


 1:01 am on Aug 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

No, you do not need permission to list them. Just don't list any information that they do not make publically available themselves. For example, if their email address is shown using a image to avoid scrapers, you should not list it in plain text.

What you need to be careful about is that you do not represent your site as being officially connected to them. Or what trademark law refers to as "market confusion".


 3:50 pm on Aug 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Its pretty basic, post any pictures you want.. if they complain that your trying to help them by renting out their condo remove the picture with ease. I know if my house was being listed I would want as much exposure as possible. So come to think of it when I do sell my house you will be the person to sell it ;)

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