[thelist] publishing pics of vehicles - permission/protocol

Bob Meetin bobm at dottedi.biz
Sat Jul 26 08:03:18 CDT 2008

Martin Burns wrote:
> On 24 Jul 2008, at 16:54, Gersten, John wrote:
>> That said, when such companies do take action, it usually amounts to  
>> little more than a letter demanding the usage of the image of the  
>> trademarked item be stopped immediately. Unfortunately, large  
>> companies don't have much of a disincentive to set their lawyers on  
>> attack mode; it's a "shoot first and worry about legitimacy later"  
>> approach.
> Nah, not unless it's a trade secret - taking pictures of a car out  
> there in the public domain is fine (unless you're claiming that it's  
> *your* car design).
> Martin
In the dark lighting of the shop it looks to be public domain;  the 
pictures are representative of the type of work the shop does (brakes, 
alignment, etc.) and the fact that they work on Renaults, Mercedes, 
Dodges and Fords alike.  Most of the cars in the shop will be at least 2 
years old plus some genuine classics (65 Chevelle, 32 Ford, 74 Jensen 
Healey) that owners generally want the public to see.  I have erased 
license plate numbers when obvious, also prepared a release for the biz 
owner to hand out to perspectives, also educated him on some of the 
remote, and I think very remote, possibilities of complaints from 

Now in a different situation I have a customer who wants to me to set up 
an eCommerce site and train one of his staff to grab pictures of the 
widgets they plan to sell off manufacturer sites.  I heard the 'not 
necessarily' part and I agree.  He has seen others do the same thing 
without permission, is quite willing to sign a waiver to release me of 
any liability (for training them).  Ethically it is a bit of a dilemma. 


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