Dropshipping vs. copyrights to images and product descriptions

Dropshipping vs. copyrights to images and product descriptions

 6 min read

Before you decide to start your dropshipping career, you need to take into account a few important issues.

Are you planning to set up an online store with products offered by dropshipping wholesalers? Below you can see a few most important principles related to copyrights to images and product descriptions.

Although an inexperienced seller may think that reusing images and descriptions created by a manufacturer isn’t anything wrong if it aims at selling a greater amount of products, this way of thinking isn’t entirely correct.

Before you decide to publish product images or descriptions, it’s crucial to check if they aren’t protected by copyright.

So what can be subject to copyright? Article 1 of the Copyright Law states that:

The object of copyright is any form of manifestation of creative activity with an individual character, regardless of its value, purpose and method of expression.

What prerequisites indicate that you’re dealing with work with the so-called “individual character”? 

In the case of images, we’re talking about features such as depth, perspective, cropping, focus or visible special effects. Additionally, it may involve all kinds of persons and props. However, it’s worth taking a closer look at the guidelines as the abovementioned features are only examples. According to them, a product photo taken hastily with a phone isn’t a piece of work with an individual character.

Nowadays, creating professional product photos requires hiring specialist photographers. Thus, it involves extra time and expenses. Moreover, such images need to be properly edited. Therefore, it’s quite understandable that a manufacturer may get irritated if someone tries to steal the photos from his/her website.

How to get down to product photos and copyrights so that you aren’t forced to pay a fine or  delete any images from your website?

Contact the manufacturer before you publish his/her ready-made product photos. You can ask for a written consent to post them as manufacturers usually don’t have any objections. However, you also need to be prepared that people may refuse. Many product owners pay special attention to their brands, PR and distribution. Consequently, they wish to have their goods sold only through official channels.

The same principle applies to professional product descriptions. Their creation also involves extra costs and work hours. A manufacturer who cares about unique content probably employs professional copywriters. Therefore, they create a piece of work with an individual character. When can you assume that you’re dealing with a description protected by copyrights? The vocabulary will be diversified and illustrative. Your senses will be stimulated while reading the description. Technical data may also be subject to copyright. Placing information in colorful charts that attract attention also requires devoting extra time.

Usually, technical data presented in a concise form doesn’t constitute a piece of work with an individual character. However, a detailed leaflet may constitute such work. In this scenario, you may also request a written consent from the manufacturer who created given product descriptions.

What to keep in mind?

  1. Send your request to the source – the manufacturer. An entity between you and the producer, e.g. a dealer, isn’t authorized to give you such a consent.
  2. Create a document that can be sent to manufacturers to ask them for permission to use their product images or descriptions. A consent given you via an email may not be enough if you need appropriate proof in the future.

There is nothing wrong in asking a manufacturer for permission to use his/her product photos and descriptions. It’s not time-consuming and it can save you a lot of trouble in the future. People report all kinds of violations of this type each day. Believe us, you don’t want to become the subject of one of them.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions related to this subject. Our specialists will be happy to resolve your doubts.

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