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Use of product in video copyright infringement?

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by maluchic86, Apr 5, 2009.

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  1. maluchic86

    maluchic86 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm sorry, this may seem to be a silly question, but I got into a debate about this with someone, and I was hoping that you all might be able to clarify the issue.

    Many people put up videos on sites like YouTube that are either product reviews or tutorials. If you use a product (say, a cosmetic) in a review or tutorial, without asking permission of the company, would this be considered "copyright infringement"? These would all be products you purchased. For example, let's say that you purchased Company X's foundation, blush, and eyeshadow. You tested them out and decided that, in your opinion, the foundation was good, but the blush and eyeshadow were not. You create a video about your experience with these cosmetics (without contacting the company for permission) and post it on YouTube. Would this constitute copyright infringement? What if you did a makeup tutorial, using these products in your video? Could that constitue copyright infringement? I mean, you're definitely not claiming that the products are yours or anything like that...the other person was arguing that this would be considered copyright infringement...any clarification on this issue would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Do you mean trademark? If you bought the cosmetics and are simply doing a review of the product, I would think there is no violation of copyright or trademark. What exactly is the issue? Are you selling anything? Is the video implying that the reviewer is an authorized representative of the manufacturer?
     
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  3. maluchic86

    maluchic86 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Basically, let's say that I want to do a makeup tutorial on how to do a "black smokey eye." For this, I use various cosmetics (several eyeshadows, eyeliner, makeup brushes). I make the video and post to YouTube. At no time do I say that I am authorized representative of the company. Nor am I selling the products, or anything like that. I'm just demonstrating how to apply them to get a particular look. In the case of a review, I would basically purchase the cosmetics and explain what I think of them and why...like durability, color selection, etc.

    The person I was debating with insisted that if I did not contact the cosmetic company to get permission to use their products in the tutorial or review, I was infringing on copyright (just by using the products in the video)...which doesn't make any sense to me, but I thought I'd clarify it. She said that she ran a business so she knew she was right lol.

    Thank you so much for your help!
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I have no idea what basis this person has for claiming that your review of a product is copyright infringement. What is "copyrighted" that you are infringing?
     
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  5. maluchic86

    maluchic86 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    lol, apparently the cosmetics? Any reviews or tutorials are all designed/created/produced the poster of the video, so I have no idea why she would claim that just using the product would make it copyright infringment...it made absolutely no sense. I even asked my brother who took a high school Business Law course, and he said that as long as the video creator wasn't making any false claims about the product, there shouldn't be a problem. I guess basically this girl has no idea what she's talking about.
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Unless she provides you with an ounce of reason to believe she knows what she's talking about...
     
  7. rteeples

    rteeples New Member

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    What about a site that does product reviews and sells advertising on it

    Here's a related question:

    If you build a website that reviews products (like CNET does, for instance) and you make money from advertisements on that site, are you violating any law by showing video demonstration of that product?

    Do you have to have express permission from the company whose product you are reviewing if you show a video demonstrating the use of the product?

    .
     
  8. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Not that I'm aware of offhand. I don't see any rights that they retain on the product after it's sold that would prevent someone from doing a review of a product which is clear is not sponsored or from the manufacturer.
     
  9. rteeples

    rteeples New Member

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    Software/web platform reviews

    Would a product review of a software or web platform that had video demonstrating use similarly be acceptable without permission from the manufacturer/publisher?
     

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