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  1. #1
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    Can an affiliate modify product images?
    Hi All,

    I'm a software developer looking at building an affiliate site to showcase clothing and accessories. Think shopstyle.com. However, as part of my site I want to do some image processing on the product images. For example, suppose I modified the original images to change the background behind the product, in a way that improves the experience of the shopper.

    Can anyone please advise me, is this likely to get my site kicked out of affiliate programs for violating the typical terms of the affiliate agreement? What would be the chances of getting served with copyright infringment notices, kicked out of google results, or any other legal nasties? Assume that the image processing is done professionally in a way that benefits the shopper.

    Thanks in advanced for any comments,
    Pete80

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    I've made alterations to banners on rare occasion, but requested through the AM beforehand, sent a version & received an approval in writing (email) before I posted it. I've done this with a small niche & one major merchant. Later on, the major merchant had their creative dept. create a banner that was themed similar to mine which I then used.

    Always get a written approval from the merchant, especially fashion photos...there are copyrights which may not allow manipulation of the images unless you pay a hefty fee. Don't play fast and loose with this! Ask permission, send a couple of samples & wait for a response.

    And don't overthink it! You'll be more than surprised to see what people like & buy. Just my 2 cents...this is not the wheel you want to reinvent.

    Best to you!
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  4. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    You can ask the AM for modifications to a banner. If there is value to the modification you are asking for, then they may make the new banner available to all the affiliates also.

  5. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    OP was asking about PRODUCT images, not banners
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  7. #5
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Product images? No. Banners? With approval.

    Many merchants spend lots of time and resources on professional photography for products. They do not want their work altered. Expect to be removed from programs and then contacted by the legal teams.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  9. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    If all you really want to do is change the background then it is at least worth running past the AM and seeing what he/she says in regard to copyrights and company preferences. If they say no then so be it and just make do with what you have.

    I sometimes allow affiliates to slightly alter images from our site if it makes them more relevant to their audiences. That being said, we are not a clothing company though so I'm not sure how much stricter they are than us.
    Mike Hourigan
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.shoeboxed.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=signature%2B&utm_campaign=abestweb"]Shoeboxed.com[/URL]
    [EMAIL="mikeh@team.shoeboxed.com"]Email[/EMAIL]|[URL="http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=131457835&trk=tab_pro"]LinkedIn[/URL]

  10. #7
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    We process and resize about 50 million product images into 5 or so different sizes for our API, then serve them off of our own CDN. If we didn't, most merchants servers would be crushed by the volume of traffic and requests that we send. We aren't altering the contents of the images though, just resizing them.

  11. #8
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    Thank you everyone for your replies. The question is about product images, however all the answers were helpful.

    Most of the answers mentioned the need for approval from the merchant. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the brand. I would have thought that in most cases the ownership of product images would have resided with the brand (e.g. RayBan) as opposed to the merchant (e.g. FramesDirect)? Are the merchants really the ones paying for professional photography, as mentioned by akagorilla, or is it the brands who are ultimately supplying the product photos?

    Thanks again everyone

  12. #9
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Pete, you're right, but your first point of contact is the merchant's affiliate manager who will contact the merchant (& the merchant contacts the brand) to determine whether or not you can do the alterations.

    As you're an affiliate of the merchant, ultimately, their decision is what counts. They do not want problems from the brand as they could be sued.

    Remember, this is America...land of the free to sue whoever you want for whatever you want for how ever much you want. Heck, if a merchant unlawfully uses a copyrighted image in their banner, the affiliate can be sued. See this thread. While it's not immediately relevant to your situation, just be aware that you are treading on dangerous waters.

    Even if the brand did agree, the photographers could sue you...just because they can. Maybe an unlikely scenario, but who wants to pony up $$$ + time for that?
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  13. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete80 View Post
    I would have thought that in most cases the ownership of product images would have resided with the brand (e.g. RayBan) as opposed to the merchant (e.g. FramesDirect)? Are the merchants really the ones paying for professional photography, as mentioned by akagorilla, or is it the brands who are ultimately supplying the product photos?Thanks again everyone
    Some products and their images are sent and created most times by the brand and vendor. There are a few merchants that do change them and create their own for the vendors too. However to a merchant, brand or vendor selling example furniture through various online stores, if you change how the product looks, like the background of the sofa, then the consumer may be confused of what the product is meant to show and then the vendor or merchant would not like that or allow that. I would check and get written permission with each merchant you are going to change their products images first to make sure they and their vendor approves before you get in trouble or removed just in case.

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