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An inaction resulting in loss of Copyright?

     

LinCor

2:25 pm on Jun 12, 2011 (gmt 0)



If a company has a Copyright of images of items it sells. A person utilizes these images as part of a system designed to sell these items on authorized reseller sites.
No permission was obtained from the company for use of these images to increase sales of authorized resellers. The images are displayed on authorized reseller sites only which have agreements to use the company images and logos for marketing and sales purposes.
1.The images have been used for over 10 years with the companyís knowledge on these resellerís web site, over 500.
2.The company has requested from time to time the images be displayed in a different manner.
3.The company has had contact with the person displaying the images over the years by Emails, phone calls, and physical meetings to discuss strategy.
4.The company has not been harmed in any way by the display of these images.
5.The company has sold, though itís authorized resellers, in excess of $100M in items
6.The person who designed the system to displaying these images receives no income from the images. The person receives a commission on the items shipped.

There are a number of questions:
The company now wants to exercise its copyright claim. The question is, ďIs there still copyright?Ē
If I have a copyright I know is being used and I do nothing for some period of time, was not harmed, benefitted from itís use and have requested changes of its display over the years, but never gave formal permission for use, can I still claim copyrights?

If a reseller has a right to utilize the images for marketing and sales, is there copyright infringement.

If a sales commission is realized from the use of a copyright image, this could even be posted on eBay and eBay getting an ad fee and commission, is the commission seen as profiting from infringing on the copyright, if there is one.

lucy24

2:48 pm on Jun 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



Please do not ask specific legal questions on an international, general-access forum. You need to consult a lawyer about your specific situation as it applies to the laws in effect where (1) you live (2) the other person lives (3) you do business (4) the other person does business (5) your server is hosted (6) the other server is hosted.

For starters, your lawyer will tell you which of 1-6 apply.

wheel

8:23 pm on Jun 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The poster isn't asking a questions. THe poster is attempting to prove their case that they sold lots of product so therefore they should have the rights to the images.

You don't have the rights to the image. Doesn't matter how much product you sold.

If you don't have an agreement with the owner of the pics, then they're not yours to use. Take them down and move on.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's not the question you asked. But it actually is your answer.

rowan194

4:03 am on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Copyright is complex even in a single jurisdiction. My broad understanding is that *generally* copyright expires because a specific period has passed, not because the rightful owner has simply done nothing about it for 10 years.

Even if copyright for the images expired tomorrow it's likely they would be able to go after you for your infringement while it was valid.

It's not like a trademark where you may have to proactively defend your right to it.

I do agree that the waters are a little more muddied if you were selling on their behalf (ie your sales make them $) and they were fully aware of your use of the images all this time. But as a black and white answer, it's likely they do have copyright on those images, and unless you have an agreement where they've explicitly or implicitly (eg through ToS) authorised you to use those images they can legally pursue you for infringement.

If they're asking for a financial settlement then you're better off contacting a lawyer specialising in copyright.

piatkow

3:34 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



OK, my reading is that you are using product images to sell the copyright owners product without permission and now they are complaining?

1. Their copyright doesn't go away
2. A lawyer may be able to argue that they have implicitly consented to the use
A lot depends on where you are, as already stated you need a lawyer.

I suspect that there is something that you haven't told us as I would consider it most unusual for a supplier to suddenly complain about being promoted.

jecasc

9:33 pm on Jun 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If you don't have an agreement with the owner of the pics, then they're not yours to use. Take them down and move on.


Not necessarily. He says the other company has been involved in how the pictures have been used. There have been debates on how the images should be displayed, strategies on the use of the pictures have been discussed. A court on reviewing the evidence might very well find that some sort of license agreement exists for the use of the pictures.

My advice would be to ask a lawyer specialised in copyright law.

Leosghost

9:48 pm on Jun 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



if the copyright wasn't assigned in writing..and signed ( or equivalent ..digitally ) ..there is no agreement for use ..its infringement..

A lawyer might reduce how much you have to pay if they take you to court ..

mhansen

9:54 pm on Jun 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



These types of issues always have an easy answer...

Who Can Afford the Best and Most Aggressive Attorney? You or Them?

In the end, it will be handled before it ever reaches court, by the player who plants the most fear into the other.

graeme_p

1:03 pm on Jun 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Given that they appear to have implicitly agreed to your usage of the images, you may have defences like equitable estoppel. You need a lawyer to look at the exact facts (the communications made, what reasonable expectations you had, etc.) to establish this.

Most people here are not lawyers, we do not know all the facts, and we do not even know what jurisdiction you are in!

graeme_p

1:04 pm on Jun 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@leosghost, written and signed agreements may be necessary for copyright assignment, but surely not for licensing?
 

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