Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Other websites using my product images. Can I sue them? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Other websites using my product images. Can I sue them?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: michaelf9-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 08 Nov 2006 15:15 PST
Expires: 08 Dec 2006 15:15 PST
Question ID: 781186
If I add a watermark or my logo to a photograph that I take of a
product, say a Sony 32 Television, and another competing website
downloads the photo, removes my logo and uses the pic that I took. Can
I sue them for copyright infringement or violation of the DMCA?

The reason I take the pics is that they look better than the stock
pics the manufacturer sends me.
Subject: Re: Other websites using my product images. Can I sue them?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 08 Nov 2006 15:56 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Yes, you can sue for copyright infringement.

A photograph that you have taken -- with or without a watermark or
logo -- is your property, and is automatically copyrighted from the
moment it is created.  No one else has a right to use that photo
without your permission.

You can read a bit more about this at the official site of the US
Copyright Office, here:
How to Secure a Copyright


However, just because you *can* sue, doesn't necessarily mean it's a
good idea to do so.

Before explaining, though, two caveats:

1.  Please note the disclaimer at the page bottom...Google Answers is
not a source of professional legal advice, so take everything here
with the appropriate grains of salt.

2.  My familiarity with copyright is largely from the perspective of
US law...if you are asking about another country, you may need to
modify some of the information presented here.

That said, filing a lawsuit is a big deal, can be a very time
consuming and expensive undertaking, and may not pay off in the end. 
Unless you can demonstrate to the court that you've suffered
significant economic loss from the unauthorizied use of your photo,
they are unlikely to award signficant damages.

Infringement can result in punitive damages (in addition to any losses
you experience), but this is generally limited to works that are
actually registered with the copyright office (registration isn't
required to get a work copyrighted, but it is an option, and affords
some extra protections).

You didn't mention whether your photo is registered or not, but I
suspect it isn't.

A quick overview of what can or can't be had as the outcome of an
infringement suit can be found here:
Copyright Remedies

You may want to simply contact the users of your photo, and insist
that they take the photo off of their site, or pay you a fee for its
continued use.

By the way, you don't necessarily have an unlimited right to take
photos of commercial products like a Sony TV, and post them on your
site.  Sony has certain rights to control images of its products. 
While it's highly unlikely a major company would take action regarding
a photo that wasn't defamatory, anything's possible!

I trust this is the information you needed, but if there's anything
else I can do for you, just let me know by posting a Request for


michaelf9-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply!

Subject: Re: Other websites using my product images. Can I sue them?
From: owain-ga on 10 Nov 2006 13:05 PST
Yes you can sue them, but it probably won't be for much money, because
a "stock photo" of a product for a retailer's website isn't worth
much, and you would sue on the basis of what you would have been able
to charge had you been fairly remunerated for use of your photo.
(Probably less than you paid for this Googleanswer).

Your best bet is to get his website taken down by his ISP. :-)

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy