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Author Topic: How far is too far - copyrights, logos, etc.  (Read 4817 times)

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« on: August 25, 2008, 18:18 »
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Sometimes some of the rejections leave me scratching my head.

The example below has been rejected by some of the microstock sites.

Historically - the use of logos and trademarks (belonging to other people) was a no-no (no problem with that). Then - photographing subject with any logos/trademarks has become a no-no (quite debatable, since they have no problem with including their logos on any piece of clothing which I may buy - which in itself presents an interesting legal problem: does that mean that I can't photograph MY shirt for which I paid monies ?).

Then - the whole bunch of buildings/objects/sites to which all of a sudden someone claimed "copyright", although the law in most cases does not protest architectural appearance of a building.

Then - the example like the one below: what is wrong with it - except that one may say "it looks like Lego blocks" - so what ? No logo etc. is present in the picture - but somene seems to have a problem with it...

Does that mean that soon we will have to ask manufacturers of our clothing to give us "product release" before we take photo of any person (unless that person is naked - which presents quite different set of problems) ?






« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 18:52 »
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Does that mean that soon we will have to ask manufacturers of our clothing to give us "product release" before we take photo of any person (unless that person is naked - which presents quite different set of problems) ?
Too late. You have to look out for people's shoes because the Adidas three stripes will get you rejections.  ;D

« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 19:04 »
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Lego bricks have always been protected.  This is no surprise.

« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 19:10 »
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You beat me for making lego block houses

« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 19:30 »
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"Lego bricks have always been protected.  This is no surprise."

The name - yes. The logo - yes. The looks - that's where I get confused.
Essentially this means that plastic blocks can't be photographed - because they may look like something which has a copyrighted/trademarked name and logo...

Note that there is no name or logo in the image.

Everything should then be protected - each and every item ever manufactured - after all it has been designed and manufactured by someone...Which effectively puts an end to photography (at least for microstock).

« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 19:44 »
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http://www.lego.com/eng/info/fairplay.asp

It's all about who is willing to send cease and desist letters and go further if necessary.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 19:46 by yingyang0 »

Uncle Pete

  • Evidence please...

« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 20:17 »
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http://www.lego.com/eng/info/fairplay.asp

It's all about who is willing to send cease and desist letters and go further if necessary.


The part everyone is looking for, from the above link.

In some countries, the LEGO Basic Brick is protected by a trademark registration.

The bricks are protected.

I wonder about, if someone puts them together, then does that change the original brick into a derivative? My goodness, a toy plastic brick and it's not usable for stock photos.

Next yellow pencils with a green ring around the end that holds the eraser. Distinctive cigarette butts with a double blue line around them. Patented roses...

« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 20:36 »
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Well, not a word in the above link about photographing the blocks - all they statements refer to their logo, photographs on THEIR product packaging etc.

« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 21:40 »
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The part everyone is looking for, from the above link.
The really important part was were it says:

"We also believe that designs, company names and trademarks should not be used in unrelated settings without the owner's consent. Each year, our legal department handles hundreds of incidents involving infringement of our rights, keeps track of developments worldwide and regularly brings infringers to court."

« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 22:05 »
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OK, so where is the infringement ?

« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 22:18 »
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OK, so where is the infringement ?
Two words, trade dress. The distinctive look of lego bricks is protected by trademarks in most major countries and therefore you can't sell images of them under a royalty-free license.

cmcderm1

  • Chad McDermott - Elite Image Photography
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 22:20 »
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A Porsche would be trademarked even if you couldn't see its name or logo.  I believe it is called trade-dress, and that can be trademarked.

« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 23:12 »
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OK, so where is the infringement ?
Two words, trade dress. The distinctive look of lego bricks is protected by trademarks in most major countries and therefore you can't sell images of them under a royalty-free license.

Actually Trade Dress refers to product packaging and appearance, and can even extend to the look of building facades, such as a certain awning design being characteristic to a restaurant chain.

The Lego bricks are protected by Design Rights, and it falls under Patent Law. Also protected are all Samsung phone cases, most other brands of newly styled phones, PDAs etc,  iPods, most new stylish video game controllers. cars, such as the grille of a Rolls Royce. Just pulling out a few examples here. The list goes on.

To the OP - ask yourself if the image could be used in an advertising campaign. The answer here is no. And yes, you are right, there is less and less you can shoot each day. As far as clothing, you need to watch out or designer clothing where fabric prints are easily recognizable, and of shooting a male, watch out for the gold buttons on a plain navy blue blazer if they are embossed with the designer's mark like Ralph Lauren.

« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 23:45 »
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I think it is time for the consumers to pass a law which would forbid any brand/trade names to be put on any sellable product then...I do not want to be a walking advert for the big boys. Actually - I do not buy anything which has any visible logos/names anywhere.

We are very good at building our own prisons - and I have to say that some people who say that Western civilization is rotten to the core may actually have a point...

« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2008, 23:53 »
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As a matter of interest - what is in the image is a cheap (Chinese I guess?) product which I bought for $3 a bag (containing about 150 pieces)...

« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2008, 00:45 »
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As a matter of interest - what is in the image is a cheap (Chinese I guess?) product which I bought for $3 a bag (containing about 150 pieces)...

That would be a matter for Lego to pursue. Doesn't really matter though. In the photo, most viewers would perceive the house as Lego, and Lego would claim trademark dilution along with design rights protection if the photo was used commercially, even if it's not their bona fide product in the image.

In the USA in late 2006 new trademark laws were passed strengthening the principal's ability to claim trademark dilution. The new language heavily benefits corporations. It was shortly after this that iStock was the first to start really cracking down and they revamped submission guidelines. The others are following. StockXpert has been particularly tough on buildings and architecture from what I see in thier forum.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 02:11 by stormchaser »

« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2008, 11:00 »
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One of these days some manufacturer will wake up and invite stock photogs to shoot their stuff with logos just for the free advertising!

fred


« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2008, 12:30 »
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Actually Trade Dress refers to product packaging and appearance, and can even extend to the look of building facades, such as a certain awning design being characteristic to a restaurant chain.

The Lego bricks are protected by Design Rights, and it falls under Patent Law. Also protected are all Samsung phone cases, most other brands of newly styled phones, PDAs etc,  iPods, most new stylish video game controllers. cars, such as the grille of a Rolls Royce. Just pulling out a few examples here. The list goes on.
It is wise to actually have a law degree before correcting someone about the law. Design Patents only protect a product from other people making similar products, not the visual representation of the product. Again it is trade dress and trademark law that protects the visual depiction of the product.

« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2008, 20:41 »
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Actually Trade Dress refers to product packaging and appearance, and can even extend to the look of building facades, such as a certain awning design being characteristic to a restaurant chain.

The Lego bricks are protected by Design Rights, and it falls under Patent Law. Also protected are all Samsung phone cases, most other brands of newly styled phones, PDAs etc,  iPods, most new stylish video game controllers. cars, such as the grille of a Rolls Royce. Just pulling out a few examples here. The list goes on.

It is wise to actually have a law degree before correcting someone about the law. Design Patents only protect a product from other people making similar products, not the visual representation of the product. Again it is trade dress and trademark law that protects the visual depiction of the product.


Maybe this will bring it down to a level you can understand. THere are pictures and everything

http://www.amerilawyer.com/trademark/tm_tradedress.htm#1

« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2008, 21:48 »
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Ver nice article: still, not a word about photographing the protected items. In fact, the whole purpose of protection (including Trade Dress) seems to be preventing the competition from stealing the design, colors, packaging etc. - and the photograph of a protected item seems to be totally out of scope. But again, I am not a lawyer.

Still - it seems to me that a lot of strong arm tactics and bullying is used - chiefly because it is quite easy to intimidate a regular person with obtuse legal statements which in fact have nothing to do with the perceived "infringement".

« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2008, 22:03 »
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Maybe this will bring it down to a level you can understand. THere are pictures and everything

http://www.amerilawyer.com/trademark/tm_tradedress.htm#1


Since you continue to be condescending lets play a game. Blink if you have a law degree.

Me: ::)

If you actually knew what you're talking about you'd know that LegoGroup's patent expired in 1978 and has been using its trademark and trade dress claims to protect its brand.

And if you actually had a law degree you'd know that a design patent doesn't apply. Since I teach intellectual property law let me direct you to a few good sources. The book I teach from: Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age. The leading case on design patent infringement: Gorham Mfg. Co. v. White. The standard for infringement of a design patent is " if in the eye of an ordinary observer, giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, two designs are substantially the same, if the resemblance is such as to deceive such an observer, inducing him to purchase one supposing it to be the other, the first one patented is infringed by the other."

You  were right above when  you cited iPods as a prime example but you didn't understand why. If you manufacture a product that looks like an iPod then you are infringing the design patent. Taking a photograph of the iPod isn't an infringement of the design patent. You'd know that if you were an attorney.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 22:23 by yingyang0 »

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