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Copyright Infringement

2:24 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I sell furniture from my website only. Most all of my Vendors encourage me to get images from their website or scan the images in myself. There is one particular vendor whom I have been selling their products about 1000 of them for 2 years now. They offer 4,000, so I called them today and asked them if they can burn the images on a disc for me. I do about $40,000 a year with them alone in sales, so I did not think it would hurt to ask. To my surprise they said we can give you 20. I thought thats fine so I said I'll just scan the rest in myself. I was told I was not allowed to that I had to buy each picture for $20.00 each which totals $80,000. My question is because there are over 1000 etailers selling their product online already who probably have no idea they were not allowed to scan their pictures ( we all have the same images) and they never would have appoached me about it and recently in the 2004 catalog pointed me to their new page which discussed copywright infringement, can I get in trouble for continuting to kee p my existing pictures from their catalog on my website. I just don't understand That is how I sell my product. I don't think their are really going to go around policing everbody, but I don't want to do anything illegal. I thought if a vandor gave you a catalog and told you to sell that you can scan pictures. When you go to a furniture store there are usually fliers on top of dressers. Or would that be compilation copyright and individual pictures from the catalog aren't copywrited? I am really bummed because I do a lot of business with them. I am sure I am a pea in their pond but their products generate a good income for me. One might say well why don't a buy the rest of the pictures, however with internet sales profit margins are too embarrasing to mention and you have to list several items to sell one.
3:05 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would simplely call them back and tell him that you are making them money, everyone else is using their images, and if they continue like this you'll just go to another etailer that offers free images because its FREAKING RIDICULOUS for you to pay money to sell there product.
3:15 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

HI, The only thing I can think of due to the industry is that 1) they don't want furniture being sold over the internet or 2) they are sticking it to us because they think they can.
3:18 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

KB, this may be a way of discouraging internet marketing of their product. I've never met a supplier who didn't do whatever they could to support a good customer. The per-photo fee is crazy, particularly considering the number of products. Do you have an alternate supplier? If so, I'd make noises about changing your allegiance if your current supplier doesn't get more helpful.
3:21 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes I have several and the other ones offer free delivery too unlike this one charges 7%, but they have the best selection and I thought I could consolidate vendors and biuld a bettter relationship by doing more business in terms of numbers. Another thing is for some reason people love their product, but to be honest my other vendors sell similar stuff so if I listed theirs instead for the categories I have listed this other company I would probably do just fine. Its all Ready to assemble furniture and the owners in this particular industry don't have many ethics when it comes to building a relationship.
1:18 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I thought I could consolidate vendors and build a better relationship by doing more business in terms of numbers.

Now there is your approach. Go to them and talk about how you want to do more business with them and build a better working relationship -- if only you had the images. Let them know tactfully that without the images, it will be hard for you to do more business with them by shifting away from other suppliers.

4:57 pm on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No The MFR told me they will give me 200 pictures for free but they have to give them to me I cannot scan them in. That should be enough to pick a nice selection but will not increase my sales with them which at this point I don't really care to much on impressing them with high sales anyhow. The problem is that now they are giving me images to their standards. I will probably need to resize them or Cut out a portion to enlarge it so you can see the quality of wood, etc because its furntiure and that is still copywright infringement. They are just trying to be controlling to be honest. I don't think its about the $20.00 a picture as they no nobody will pay that. Its getting really frustrating, but I am going to wait and accept the 200 pictures of my choice then offer them $1000 for 500 more since they won't let me scan and have them sign something stating they give me permission to use their images for the purpose of selling their product as well as stating that I can edit them because I am almost positive that I will need to tweak at least the size as well as Crop it so the catolog page that surrounds their image won't show. Its getting ridiulous. Thanks for all of your imput.
4:53 am on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For whatever it may be worth, I sell a product a heck of a lot smaller and less expensive than furniture.

My supplier lets me scan in any images I want from any of their literature. Plus, they also provide a CD that includes photos from most of their literature, as well as line art, logos and other useful stuff.

All I have to do is ask for the CD, and they send it out to me. I don't even have to pay shipping!

6:35 am on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The vendor has already established the fact that they do not care about nurturing the relationship they have with you, yet they are still good to you for about $40,000 a year. Quite honestly I do not understand their mentality on charging you for the images. If it is to deter internet sales then it makes no sense as they have to be aware by all the drop shipping they are doing for all their other retailers.

My advise is to continue to use their images to sell their products and even go as far as scanning the remainder of the 3000 or so images. This will give you 300% more items from a popular line of products and the potential to increase your revenues. At this point use them to your benefit while you have the chance and if they try to get you to remove the images, which I seriously doubt, well then it will be their loss.

Think about it. Are they going to take you to court to remove images of theirs you used to sell their products and put money in their pockets? How idiotic does that sound? You are definitely not using the images in bad faith and I think that would have to be the case for them to prove.

2:54 pm on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

KB, one thought that comes to mind is that you aren't talking to the right person at the company. The advertising person, for example, might be very protective of the firm's content, while the sales manager (who has monthly quotas to meet) might prove more flexible.

Another possibility is that the firm is taking heat from bricks & mortar retailers if you are selling for less. I've been in this situation, and the most important thing is volume - if you become more important than most of their other dealers, they'll turn a blind eye to your activity while reassuring their storefront dealers that they are cracking down on low-price web sales. I suspect that your current sales level doesn't make you one of their biggest dealers.

I like your idea of consolidating purchases to get the best pricing and service, but maybe this is just the wrong vendor. Good luck.

12:59 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My latest thoughts are since they are going to provide me with 200 images and told me they know I have existing images previously scanned by me and are Okay with those. I was going to drafe a document and ask them to sign in basically stating that I have permissible use to sell and advertise their pictures on my website. That way if I still scan a few that they did not give me, I had them sign something stating it was okay even though they will probably assume I was talking about their 200 images when asking them to sign an agreement. I really want to sell their product. I don't think anything would ever come of it anyhow. I have emailed a few other vendors and they said they are just blowing smoke, to ignore them. I agree they are blowing smoke. However, I still want it in writing that way I can get around the 200 images. Seriously this is making me think way to hard about something that should be a given. I feel like I am the only one frustraged here because I don't want to get sued and the odds are I never would but I just don't like something like this hanging over my head. SO I figure if they give me the 200 images and they sign I can use their pictures for my website and then I scan the rest, they put in writing maybe unknowingly its okay. Writing this down right now I feel totally sneaky and am having second thought. I don't really have a sales rep,but I did put in a call to the sales rep their and talked to him briefly as he was out of town and he was kind of laughing saying he never heard of that and think its ridiculous too. SO maybe he can talk to the manager for me. Its just that their policy is too only give out 20 free images and now they are giving me 200 so I don't want them to think I am being greedy. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it. On top of that I am going to have to reformat them and rename them anyhow since you are not allowed to have their part#'s anywhere on your website. Seriously, why don't they just let me scan the things myself. Ironically enough they are one of the largest RTA manufacturers of furniture in the U.S and they used to have an online store which went out of business because of too much damage and too many chargebacks so I feel they look negatively on ecommerce. Its totally unfair because obviously they are way too big to provide adequate cusomter service. In two years of furniture sales - never one charge back and its not easy as its a pretty delicate item to ship.
1:03 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry about the typos in my last post. When I was writing I was getting frustrated about the situation. Thanks:)

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