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Is it copyright/trademark infringement to display photos on the web of replica goods you have purchased?

Carmel, IN |

Would it be legal to link back to the sites with a clause stating "this site does not condone the purchase of counterfeit and otherwise copyright and trademark infringing goods proceed at your own risk"

There are no intentions to distribute said goods but only to alert the consumer of their presence.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. If the "replica" items that you purchased are counterfeit, then posting of these photographs and providing links to these web-sites is a terrible idea. First, you are incriminating yourself by showing the world that you are in possession of counterfeit goods. Second, you could be accused of contributory copyright and trademark infringement---your photos and links induce consumers to illegally traffic in counterfeit goods. Your proposed disclaimer gets you nowhere and offers you no protection.

    Also, you have now admitted on this web-site that you are in possession of "replica" goods---which means that you have apparently knowingly purchased counterfeit goods. You should assume that law enforcement is monitoring public web-sites such as this. Indeed, if I were in your shoes I would make an appointment today with a good criminal defense lawyer. You may need one sooner than you think.

  2. So you want to buy counterfeit products, photograph them and then publish the photographs on a website along with a link to where you purchased them next to a little note saying "buy these at your own risk?" Really? And why is that no aiding and abetting the CRIME of trafficking in counterfeit goods? You need to seriously reassess not only this plan but the motivation, and morally, behind it.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

  3. The clause seems a mere lie to cover illicit activities, whatever your actual intent, and is likely to backfire on you. It will be understood to show that you really do condone trafficking in counterfeits, unless done in a purely educational expose to show how to avoid buying a counterfeit and assure you get the real thing. If this is not educational, but really an infringement dodge, it won't work and it will backfire badly on you. I don't buy the last sentence at all. Seems to me you want to display your counterfeit goods you have purchased either to brag about it or to try to resell them. What other motivation would there be? Either one will and should get you in trouble. You need to rethink that nutty illegal proposal.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

  4. Counterfeit goods are an enormous problem, and the government aggressively pursues those who distribute counterfeit goods. If you do as you suggest, you are begging for trouble, not only civil but very likely criminal.

  5. The disclaimer your propose won't protect you from prosecution and your work online makes an easy trail for law enforcement to follow. Run as fast as you can from this deal you are considering.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.