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Photo Question

Go easy plz...

     
9:01 pm on Sep 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hypothetical Situation:

You go to a pro sporting event, take a few pictures here and there. You use a picture of an athlete on your Web page...the Website isn't selling anything per se and the athlete isn't that recognizable in the picture. Also, it doesn't at all look like the athlete is promoting and given entity.

And/Or...you were given permission to use the photo on your site via a professional photographer for a known entity? I hope that makes sense.

Trouble?

9:14 pm on Sept 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It all depends on who has the best lawyers. In general, there is broad latitude to use images of public figures in news, etc., or even non-public figures in public places. This use can't be misleading, however. Thus, running your picture walking on the sidewalk to illustrate a story about "pedestrian traffic increasing downtown" would probably be fine. Running that same picture to illustrate a story titled "drugs and crime rampant downtown" would NOT be OK.

In general, public figures, including athletes, have a lower expectation of privacy than the rest of us. However, both the individual athlete and the team have strong motivation to avoid any kind of unauthorized commercial exploitation of his/her image as well as team logos. Therefore, even if your use isn't selling stuff or implying endorsement, it's possible you could hear from their lawyers.

On the other hand, you could just go ahead and do it; if they bug you, taking it down will likely be sufficient. If you are lucky, they'll either never notice or won't care if they do.

9:23 pm on Sept 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The most likely problem I see is that the photograph is taken in a 'work' situation for the athlete.

There's a difference between photographing a celeb walking down the street and photographing them shooting a scene in their latest movie.

In the second case you've got to consider whether the moviemaker, or in this case the event promoter, is going to be a bit miffed about use of their event. (or, as rogerd covered, the team management and logo use)

If it's a strictly non-commercial use you might be fine... probably depends on what side of the bed their lawyer got up on the day they find your site. But if it can be construed in any way as related to a profit activity, even if drawing traffic to a non-commercial page of a commercial site, then anything is possible.

12:29 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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On the same note. Can you use corporate logos like Wilson, Penn or Nike logos if they are being sold in the establishment of the paticular website? I see Visa and Discover logos all over the place- are there special permissions to use them or not?

Thanks

12:48 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We got a nice letter from BMW USA to cease and desist from using their propeller logo on one of our used car sites. Plenty of BMW's being sold on the site; I had told the site owner that he couldn't do it. He said 'well, let's just wait until we get caught, then we'll take it off'. I asked for a release stating that I had no part in it, which was granted.

I see the logo used on a LOT of other sites; This one had some really high rankings and visibility, probably why it got caught.

2:29 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bobriggs is right. All logos would require permission for use.

With the credit cards, you'll probably find there is a permission to use the logos included in the merchant agreement. In that case the CC companies WANT them used everywhere they can. And it's really no use for a merchant to display a discover card if they can't take the payment, so the potential for misuse is a bit lower.

BMW has a more exclusive 'air' to it and will want to maintain that. Expect them to be much more restrictive about use of their logo - who gets to use it and in what circumstances.

In each case it will come down to your agreement with the logo owner.

2:42 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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And don't just think that the logo is all that there is to it:

What's my name got to do with it? [domainsillustrated.com]

3:16 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Alright, thank you for your replies.

Still a bit confused with some aspects though. Wilson has a page on their site where you can download the logo in different sizes and formats, and really mentions nothing of its use?

I'm wondering if all of these sites (and there are alot of em) I see with logos have actually asked permission or are simply chancing it.

3:28 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm wondering if all of these sites (and there are alot of em) I see with logos have actually asked permission or are simply chancing it.

A lot are chancing it. However, you can't be sure.

You mentioned Wilson, and the fact that they want their logo out there. Good for them, I can see it as a marketing tool.

BMW and others have an issue with 'trademark dilution'. I don't really understand the concept, although we'll have lawman and others commenting. You see golf or tennis pros with logos and stuff, they want them to wear them (and pay them to wear the logos). However, if you've got a really cheesy website, I guess they don't want it advertised (or associated in any way). I can understand that.

What is 'trademark dilution'?

3:40 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What is 'trademark dilution'?

It's what makes us say kleenex instead of facial tissue, saran wrap instead of plastic wrap, chapstick instead of lip balm, etc.

The trademarks became so commonly used that most people don't realize they're actually trademarks, so it's a lot harder for the company to protect them. I think Velcro and Xerox got pretty hard-nosed after theirs spontaneously morphed into verbs. ;)

[edited by: vmcknight at 4:40 am (utc) on Sep. 16, 2002]

3:56 am on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Good reply, I see a point there, but...

If I were Kleenex, that's EXACTLY what I'd want.

Xerox - The point is that it doesn't matter any more? Any copier will do?

e.g. I'll Xerox that on my Canon?

I think I answered my own question.

12:07 pm on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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interesting thread! Just going back to the B*W car example, I can well understand that if I included a pure graphic copy of their logo on a page, it would raise eyebrows in Munich. However instead of a logo, if I had say a closeup shot of the car bonnet with the B*W badge on it, would that be treated any different by B*W copyright gods?

just curious

DoU

3:01 pm on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This stuff just depends on the company I think. BMW seems a bit hard-nosed about things, but just get in contact with marketing for who you would like to use. Like I mentioned, Wilson allows the use of their logo on your site- and to my surprise, after calling two other heavy-weight brand-named entities marketing reps, are willing to send me clean product logos to use on the website. Very nice indeed, I'm glad I decided to see what was up!
6:22 pm on Sept 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If I recall correctly, Xerox once ran an ad in the "Columbia Journalism Review" that stated something along the lines of "You can't Xerox a Xerox on a Xerox." Short and to the point.

Trademark dilution is not a good thing. While a company may want its trademark well known, when it gets to the point of being synonymous with an industry, it loses its meaning. In-line skating becomes rollerblading, and you purchase wichever brand appeals to you, not necissarily RollerBlades. This is another company that has purchased ad space in journalism and trade publications appealling for its trademark to not be used improperly.

 

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