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Picture in book from my company, credited to a competitor.

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Bobby G

Member
Looking through a book the other day (copyrighted 2015) and I find a picture of a product that is available from my company. But the caption states that the product is available from a competitor. I had not given the book author permission to use picture, and the picture is not copyrighted. Do I have any legal recourse?
 


quincy

Senior Member
Looking through a book the other day (copyrighted 2015) and I find a picture of a product that is available from my company. But the caption states that the product is available from a competitor. I had not given the book author permission to use picture, and the picture is not copyrighted. Do I have any legal recourse?
Are you in the U.S? If so, in what state do you reside?

The photo of your product might be copyright protected, if it had the minimum amount of creativity and originality required for this protection. However, if the photo was a generic image of a product sold by others, you probably have no legal recourse.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Who took the picture?
To expand on this: It is the photographer who holds the copyrights in the photos he takes, absent any agreement to the contrary.

It is also necessary to federally register a copyright ($35 per registration) prior to filing an infringement lawsuit.

With photos of products, it is often difficult to picture the product in a creative way. One picture of a toaster is pretty much like every other picture of a toaster.

It will generally be trademark issues that arise from product photos rather than copyright issues.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
Looking through a book the other day (copyrighted 2015) and I find a picture of a product that is available from my company. But the caption states that the product is available from a competitor. I had not given the book author permission to use picture, and the picture is not copyrighted. Do I have any legal recourse?
Please clarify.

Is the issue that a photo used by your company was appropriated without your company's permission?
Or, is the issue that your competitor was misattributed as the source of the product?

Personally, I would be more concerned with people having the idea that my product(s) were available from my competitor.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Clarification about the actual legal concern, along with the name of Bobby's country, would certainly help. :) It also might help to know in what type of book the picture appears.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
But there's no right to not have your product misattributed to a competitor. About the only thing that is possibly a problem is if there is a trademark that is used in a misleading way. Let's say I'm making baseballs. Someone puts a picture of my baseball (absent my trademark) in a book or even advertisement saying that you can get them from Spaulding, I've got little recourse.
 

Bobby G

Member
Thank you very much for all the responses. Our company is in CA. USA. Book publisher apparently in MN.
The product was designed and is sold exclusively by our company.
We do not know the source of the photo, by current owner of product or perhaps book author.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
The product was designed and is sold exclusively by our company.
That matters not.
The product was designed and is sold exclusively by our company.
Unless you took it, then there's not a hope you can lodge a copyright complaint.

Is there some branding indicate that would possibly arise to a trademark issue?
 

Bobby G

Member
"Is there some branding indicate that would possibly arise to a trademark issue? "
The only thing I could think of is that the product has the same name as our company. The company name is a registered LLC in CA.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Company names are not necessarily trademarks in themselves. It has to be a "brand" or the like used in commerce. We're not likely to be able to help you much in the abstract.
 

Bobby G

Member
Sorry to be so elusive, we feel this is very embarrassing for our company.
Let me try this. A book about limousine services shows a picture of a Bentley with the caption: The AAA limousine service uses this vehicle, available from Ford"
 

quincy

Senior Member
Thank you very much for all the responses. Our company is in CA. USA. Book publisher apparently in MN.
The product was designed and is sold exclusively by our company.
We do not know the source of the photo, by current owner of product or perhaps book author.
What sort of book has used a photo of your company's product and misattributed the product's origin to a company in competition with you?

There are state "unfair competition" laws that cover a wide variety of commercial activities. There are trademark and trade name infringement laws, there are false advertising laws, palming off laws ... all which have at their center uses of a name or image that mislead or deceive or confuse consumers into believing something that is not true.

If you are the sole manufacturer and distributer of the product pictured in the book, you have some options available. But the specifics need to be personally reviewed.
 

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