Why I Removed SPAM® From My Website
(A Letter From a Lawyer, Of Course!)
Yep. even the old Eggman muffs it from time-to-time. Trying to be ‘cute’ he failed to practice what he preached.
The results of this failure are summarized and shared here in what I hope will be a valuable lesson about intellectual property.
It CAN happen to you, regardless of how innocent YOU think the infringement may be.
If You Think A Cute Picture of [Insert Commercial Product Here] has a Place On YOUR Website, Think Again!
This letter (Click Image at Left to Read) from Hormel is courteous and to the point. It should serve as an example to other companies that try to gain cooperation through litigation and intimidation.
Hormel’s letter contains no threats, little legalese, and is almost friendly and conversational in tone. They state their reasons, and make a firm but polite request for me to remove the images from the JumpGate.
Perhaps this will drive home a point. “Even if you are just a little guy, engaged in seemingly innocent and harmless activities, Intellectual Property Law Still Applies!”
Yes, even the Girl Scout™ troop using Tinkerbell (© by Disney Corp.) on their Barbie™ Website can find themselves running afoul of the law.
I decided to continue using their images, however, just for a different use – Education
The result was a mutually acceptable agreement to create a teaching opportunity.
Hormel’s follow up letter is at the end of the following Four examples of acceptable, and potentially unacceptable use.
|EXAMPLE TWO: Probable Improper Use of Product Photo|
The illustration of SPAM® on this page would surely be a copyright
Though the Jumpgate IS strictly non-commercial, and by a stretch could be considered educational, use of this image in the illustrative context shown above may be interpreted as less than legitimate.
In any case, this one is certainly not worth taking a chance on, so
Again, “When in doubt, leave it out!”
NOTE: SPAM® is a registered trademark of the Hormel
|EXAMPLE FOUR: Definite “Fair Use” in Editorial Content|
The document you have been reading contains images of trademarked products, product names and trade dress.
The use of these images is in this context, and ONLY in this context, within the bounds of legitimate ‘fair-use.’
And NOW for something REALLY confusing
This article and all images
NOW WAIT JUST A DOGGONE MINUTE!
The trademarked name SPAM®, and the shape, design and presentation of the package (trade dress) are the undisputed property of Hormel Corporation. They own ALL of the trademarks, domain names, copyrights and patents lock, stock and (Please thank me for not saying
What I do own, however, are the exclusive rights to THIS PARTICULAR CREATIVE EXPRESSION, which also happens to contain my illustrative expressions of someone elses intellectual property.
This is the same principle by which newspapers and other media, such as Websites, wrap letters to the editor, advertising photos and so on into their copyright for one specific use.
On a related note: Before placing ANY content on your website, make certain that you have the right to use that content in the intended context. You may have paid the photographer big bucks for the photo on the cover of your annual report, but that doesn’t mean you can use it on your website!
The Eggman doesn’t pretend to be a lawyer, nor does he play one on TV. He DOES, however, suggest you consult one any time you are in doubt.
Keep in mind: “When In Doubt …”
In Case I Didn’t Say It . . . SPAM® is a Registered