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  1. #1
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    I see many websites big and small doing this. Is it legal?

    How about posting another company's logo if it's linked to their website?

    Can I post an image of their product on my website?

    I understand anyone can post links to other websites without violating any type of internet law.

    I've read lots of mixed articles about the legality of the above. Does anyone here have any professional experience related to this?

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    The short answer is "it depends". There's no hard and fast law that clearly defines what you can and can't do with someone else's intellectual property that way; the closest thing we have are "fair use" laws that usually apply more to non-commercial use (although they have commercial applications) and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    Some manufacturers have dealer/retailer sections on their website where resellers can log in and download various marketing materials for use on the resellers' websites. (product logos, images, descriptions, etc.) Some have marketing departments that you have to contact and then they'll mail you a CD or DVD of the information you can use (usually the less tech-savvy manufacturers, although that's becoming increasingly more rare).

    If it's not clear as to whether or not you can use something, the best thing you can do is to ask permission before you use someone else's intellectual property and get the permission in writing. That way, you're covered regardless of circumstances.

    The other thing you may want to check out is Plagiarism Today. Jonathan has got an absolute smorgasbord of resources for you to read through and figure out. He's not a lawyer, but IMO he knows his stuff as well as any lawyer does and he has been featured in several major news publications.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    In the US we have copyright, intellectual property rights and trademark laws.

    Short answer, read a companies "copyright use" statement on their web site, follow it to the letter. If they have the broad statement "without written permission"... Better follow it and get permission.

    Some companies logos are covered under "trademark" laws... The thing about trademarks, a company can actually lose their trademark registration, if they don't control or can't show an effort to enforce reasonable use of their logo.

    One company I do a lot of work for, has spent many many years building their brand... They allow only a handful of people to display their logo, and or promote their products. Anyone else, they send cease and desist letters, if no response, file DMCA request with the hosting company. And have the site shut down until their info is removed.

    Since they hold "international trademark" ( this is not cheap )... They can go after pretty much anyone in the world, and they do regularly. To date, they have shut down numerous sites, had one hosting company in Asia, get their IP block revoked because they refused to comply with a judge in their country ( the judge had the IP block revoked ), the hosting company then had to pay for arbitration, just to be able to use the IP's... And are now closely monitored... But the site was shut down...

    May seem a bit extreme... But some companies spend millions a year, to build, promote and manage their "brand"... The ones that blatantly try to use their "name" are trying to capitalize on the name and get traffic based on what they have spent years building... So..

    Ask permission... In the US, ignorance of the law is no longer an excuse. If you can't/ don't get a definitive answer, I'd highly suggest you not use someone's logo and or product pictures.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Oh... BTW... The link comment ( there is an exception to that )... The link may not contain a trademark or and "copyrighted" material... And in some countries, there's a push to ... Require permission "just to link" to a site, unless that site specifically says it's ok to do so.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Another thing you'll want to keep in mind that way, since WZ just reminded me, is that some companies have rules about things such as bidding on PPC keywords containing their brand name or other phrases specific to them. This is fairly common in "affiliate marketing", but it can extend to other things as well.

    Like WZ said, the US has the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). There's quite a bit of information on the DMCA, filing notices, etc. on that Plagiarism Today site I posted, but having filed a few notices myself, the short version of the DMCA is that you're saying under legal oath that a work is copyrighted and being used without permission and the site owner either has to remove the infringing work or have their site shut down by the host. If the host doesn't comply, sanctions can be implemented on the host as well (although I don't know that a host has ever pushed that envelope).
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  7. #6
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    If the image is copyrighted and the party informs internet agency like DMCA then you might get severely penalized by Google, so do with proper precaution.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    If the DMCA is involved, a Google penalty is the least of your worries.

    The DMCA also isn't an agency. It's a copyright law.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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