View Full Version : Is it legal to place product images in banner ads?

09-02-2011, 10:06 AM
I have an E-Commerce website and have never run banner ads before but currently have a very well known graphic design company designing a banner for us. They work with freelance designers globally. Currently we have had drafts created by 3 different designers. Here is the issue:

All 3 of these have product images or logos. For example since we sell Consumer Electronics some have the Xbox 360, Sony PS3, Nintendo Wii, and other similar logos. Others have the product images for products such as the iPhone 4, iPad, and other similar items. I immediately thought that this was a copyright issue but yet with all 3 submitted drafts having this I have to wonder if that's the case. Not all of these designers are in the US though. I'm located in the US but know that laws may vary in other countries.

In the past we had our logo designed by this same company but I understand a logo may not be the same since it's representing us and also is trademarked by us. An ad is simply a banner ad that is just an ad for products we sell or sell accessories for and it's not trademarked by us. I just don't want to run into any copyright issues down the line. Does anyone have any knowledge of this or know where I can go online to get legal information on this? Even if I'm allowed to place these logos or images in our ads I am wondering if we have to have small print at the bottom of the banner stating that for example "Apple iPhone is a trademark of Apple, Inc". It just would take away from the ad and I don't think I've seen this before.

Thank you for your advice.

09-02-2011, 10:56 AM
It tends to be the image itself which is subject to copyright rather than the contents of the image (with the exception of photos of people where the photographer is meant to get the permission of everybody in the image!)

If your design agencies have used a stock photo company and purchased the media rights to the images then I would have thought that the copyright issues will fall on them NOT on you.


09-12-2011, 07:05 AM
Another way around it would be to take your own pictures - I know a number of people who do this for various reasons (sometimes they just want their images to look different to everyone elses stock images)

03-08-2012, 12:00 PM
Taking your own photographs would be the best way to go about this, as it leaves not guesswork about whether or not you are going to get a letter about copyright infringement, but I have to agree that if the designers are using photos that they own the rights to then it should not be a problem. I would first get in contact with the designers and find out about the photos that they are using and also find out if perhaps you can submit your own photos to use in your banners.