2

For example, multiple companies that resell widgets are given permission by WidgeCo™ to reuse content (descriptions and images of products) from widgeco.com.

As a third-party website provider to companies that resell WidgeCo™ widgets:

  1. Do I have liability by either collecting this content from widgeco.com and providing it on the websites that I create, or by providing a tool to the resellers that does this for them?

  2. Am I legally obligated to verify that these reseller companies actually have the permission? If so, am I also legally obligated to know if/when the company loses that permission?

  3. If WidgeCo™ decides to take legal action against me, does this fall under DMCA exemption since (A) I believe the content is used with permission and thus non-infringing, (B) I am not selling the content and thus directly profiting from it, and (C) I will remove it immediately provided a takedown notice?

WidgeCo™ not only makes widgets, but also provides reseller websites. This means that while my services help to increase WidgeCo™'s widget sales, I also compete with them as a website hosting provider.

1

Product descriptions and photographs are not usually copyrightable because they are factual. Only "creative" works can be copyrighted. Courts have generally classed product descriptions and photographs as "factual" information.

See, for example, Custom Dynamics v Radiantz LED Lighting 535 F. Supp. 2d 542 (E.D. NCar W.D. 2008)

  • Thanks @Cicero. I do believe that both the descriptions and photographs in this case are copyrighted works. Cannot a work be both factual and creative? – Aaron Cicali May 8 '17 at 18:34
  • @AaronCicali I think my answer is pretty clear: courts generally classify product descriptions as factual information, therefore they cannot be copyrighted. How much clearer do I have to be? – Cicero May 8 '17 at 18:59
  • Facts are not copyrightable. Factual statements are if they meet the criteria of creativity and originality (including choices of inclusion/exclusion, sequencing, etc). If one were to deprive factual statements of all copyright, there would be a big dent in the non-fiction market. – Upnorth Sep 6 '17 at 5:58
  • I'd rather not pinpoint the question towards a specific industry, but in this case the product is not in need of much of a description, so the descriptions are very creative and original. As an example, consider a description written for a cucumber... "This luscious and vibrantly green snack is sure to brighten your day. Go green, be healthy, order today." – Aaron Cicali Oct 5 '17 at 17:43

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