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  1. #1
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    One of my sites is the topic of a Cease and Desist letter from a manufacturer. I won't say what they manufacture, but they're popular products.

    Well, I had images of the products in my domain. Those had to come down. They have. I don't feel like paying fines or making a court appearance.

    Those pages have a big red X where a pretty picture used to be. There's a lot of them, too.

    I'm wondering if the MFR even realizes what I'm doing. I mean, I am making a profit from this activity and they let me keep the description up and make no mention of the "click here to buy [product] from [merchant]" links all over the place.

    I plan on speaking to the Letter's author personally.

    What would you say in this situation?
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  2. #2
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    Were they products offered by a merchant you're affiliated with? Or are they products from a manufacturer used to get traffic to your site to send to a competing manufacturer?

  3. #3
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    Were they products offered by a merchant you're affiliated with? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Yes.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  4. #4
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    Well i think it's fair game then. I feel i should be able to promote any products from merchants i'm affiliated with. If the merchants are allowed to sell the product, i should be allowed to help them sell it. But i don't like the hassle of cease and desists either.

  5. #5
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    I recently had this happen for a manufacturer i only had one product up for, and was not even hosting the image, but linking to the merchants site.

    Luckily for me, my 12 year old nephew was over and he was able to draw up his rendition of the product using ms paint.

    I think they were just made because I outranked them for their own product. Now that I have that image up, and put a little note on how you should be suspect of any tech orientated company that can't even figure out a hotlinked image - i am even more entrenched as people have linked to it.

    Phheww... not like i sold any in the first place.

    Chet

  6. #6
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Well i think it's fair game then. I feel i should be able to promote any products from merchants i'm affiliated with. If the merchants are allowed to sell the product, i should be allowed to help them sell it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Unfortunately, that is not the way the world works. Nor is this the way the world should work. Contracts don't simply flow through one party to all of the associates of that party.

    The affiliate arrangement does not grant affiliates use of copyrighted material on the merchant's web site. The copyright for a book does not transfer to a bookstore just because the publisher sells books through bookstores.

    Unfortunately, this is why we need clear contracts between affiliates and merchants showing us what content from their site we can use to promote their goods.

    As more and more manufacturers wake up to the importance of the use of their brands and images as keywords, I would expect to see more cease and desists orders bouncing around the net.

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    If the merchants are allowed to sell the product, i should be allowed to help them sell it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I agree completely. I'm going to comply before I talk to this person.

    How I handle the situation later depends on the phone conversation.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by yintercept:
    Unfortunately, this is why we need clear contracts between affiliates and merchants showing us what content from their site we can use to promote their goods. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>That's just it: this merchant has a CJ datafeed. This feed will hotlink the image from the merchant.

    I simply copied the image instead of hotlinking.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I simply copied the image instead of hotlinking. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Personally, I hate when merchants and manufacturers split hairs like this. (Especially since some merchants like Amazon.com require that you host the images from your server.) Unfortunately such things are their choice.

    My post was simply meant as a reminder that the way we think things should be may be different from the way they are.

  10. #10
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    The problem that you (meaning everyone doing any type of affiliate stuff) is that 99% of the time, the image is provided to the online store by the item's manufacturer. As such, the Manufacturer owns the image and not the store. They've given the store permission to use the image, but not you. Because the store does not own the image, they can't grant you permission to use it.

    They can't stop you from linking to the store, but they can stop you from linking through the image. Linking to the store through the name of the product is a grey area, but is it really worth it to spend a lot of time and money in a Federal (meaning not inexpensive) court? It's up to the store to get permission for you to use the image or the product name. Using the product name is a grey area because SE's probably pick it up.

    One thing you can do rather than have the red "x" is to put an "image not available" image in place of the product image.

  11. #11
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    I wonder if the CJ merchant who is providing you with the datafeed would be willing to chat/email with the person who sent yout the notice?

    Seems it is in their own interest to help you solve the problem.

  12. #12
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    I'm not using the datafeed itself, just some links generated by CJ. Same idea either way, I guess.

    I have a couple more avenues to exhaust before I give up completely.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  13. #13
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    I think talk to the merchant and the manufacturer. It's probably a form letter, so it will be pretty firmly worded and not necessarily aimed at you.

    Explain what you're trying to do and see if there's any way you can continue to promote the manufacturer's product. In other words, open up a dialog with them.

    If you get no joy, then the best bet is to comply because they can afford a lawyer, and you probably can't. You could always source your own images by nipping out to a store with a camera!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  14. #14
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    That reminds me.. I need to send out a C&D letter myself today to a site copier. My lawyer was going to charge me £450 ($750)!!
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

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