Lately, I’ve had a lot of issues with other sellers using my product photos without permission. I wrote this post to help clarify what can and cannot be done with my original photos. This is not a legal notice, as no such notice is required to protect the rights of the content creator. Rather, it’s provided as information for people who want to use photos from my website.
Photo Policy for Grove and Grotto
All original images on this site are under copyright. This includes almost all of the product photos. I retain the rights to these photos, and will assert those rights under the law. Under no circumstances may you take our original product photos for use in another store.
Copyright infringement occurs when you use a copyrighted image without permission. The copyright of an original work generally belongs to its creator, unless the rights are specifically transferred.
Copyrights are enforced by United States law and international treaties. Web hosts, internet service providers, and many websites have policies that prohibit copyright infringement. Displaying copyright images may result in the forced takedown of your site or listing. The law also allows civil penalties (including monetary damages) for willful infringement of copyrighted images.
Copyright law protects both the right to use the photo, and the right to produce so-called “derivative works.” Contrary to what many people believe, you may not use a copyrighted picture because you have modified 10%, or 30%, or another percentage of the image. Unacceptable modifications include cropping the image, adding watermarks or text, adding filters or overlays, changing the image size or resolution, adjusting colors, brightness or contrast. If the image is still recognizable as the original, copyright laws will apply.
Provision for informational use
Occasionally, bloggers and other writers want to use our images to illustrate an article. We allow this, but do require attribution of the image. This permission is granted to non-commercial sites only—meaning the primary purpose of your site is to inform or entertain. If the primary purpose of your blog is to direct traffic to items for sale (either your own or through an affiliate program), please don’t use our images. For example:
Allowed: You are a witch writing an article about how to use a wand, and want to use our image of a wand to illustrate your post.
Not allowed: You sell wands, and want to use the image in your wand store.
Also not allowed: You’re using our image in your post about wands, and your blog is connected to a wand store.
Speakers and teachers may also use the (attributed) images in digital presentations (e.g., a slideshow for a class).
This provision does not extend to print media projects. Please contact us if you want to use an image in print. Please also note that we retain ownership of the images, and may ask to have them removed at our discretion. You must remove our copyrighted image(s) promptly upon our request. Use of our images constitutes acceptance of these terms.
To satisfy the attribution requirement above, please include a text credit and a link. Their placement is up to you. The text should credit either “Michelle Gruben” or “Grove and Grotto” or both. A hyperlink is also required on the image object or on the text. The link may point either to the page on our site that hosts the original image, or to our homepage at www.groveandgrotto.com.
You do not need to contact us for permission to use the image, as long as you comply with these terms.
In summary, here is what you are and are not allowed to do with copyrighted images taken from our site:
What you may do:
Use the photo to illustrate a blog post or article on your non-commercial website, provided the photo is attributed as detailed above.
Use the photo in digital class materials (with attribution).
Share the photo on social media using the appropriate “share” button.
Save the photo to a drive for your personal viewing.
Contact us to discuss licensing arrangements for other uses.
What you may not do:
Use the photo to illustrate an item for sale in a physical store, e-commerce store, or web marketplace listing.
Upload the image file to a stock photo or photo-sharing site.
Use the photo on a commercial blog or website, including informational blogs for e-commerce stores.
Use the photo in print media projects without express permission.
Creative digital derivative works without express permission.
Claim authorship or ownership of our original photos (e.g. with watermarks or text).
Refuse to remove our copyrighted content when requested.
I’m aware that copyright infringement can be accidental. Many people don’t know that they can’t simply use images found on search engines on their websites. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to remove the image(s) voluntarily. In most cases, upon the discovery of my images on another site, I will send a courtesy notice to the person using the images notifying them that I am the copyright holder.
If the images are not removed, promptly, I will then escalate the case by filing a formal complaint. Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are very quick to remove copyrighted content. Web hosts are also legally required to remove copyrighted content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). I report copyright infringement to all of the above companies. If you fail to comply, you could have your account suspended or your site forcibly taken down.
If the infringement appears to be willful (or if I can’t find any contact info), I may skip the courtesy notice and report the site right away. If the infringement is extensive, I may also take legal action.
I have the good-faith belief that I have the right to display all the images on this site. All were either created by me, lent by a manufacturer, taken from open-license photo sharing sites, or purchased through a stock photo agency. However, I’m aware that mistakes happen. If you are the copyright owner of a photo that appears on this site, I will remove it upon request. Please address removal requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In love and trust,
Owner, Grove and Grotto
July 14, 2016