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Zazzle Copyright Infringement?

Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/14/2013 - 9:26 PM

I tried to make stamps of my chicken painting and got a notice that I was infringing, in some way, with someone else's work; which is impossible. I painted the painting over 10 years ago from my ownstyle, composition and coloring from three of my own photographs. Way before I was on the computer. It is actually very obviously mine. My name is all over it everywhere. Besides that, I already have other products made with that image on it that were approved.

I don't care about the stamps, but I do care about my integrity being questioned. I'm pretty miffed about it right now.

I tried to do a reverse search to see if someone has stolen the image, but I'm not doing something correctly with that process. If someone could help me out that would be super.

Photography Prints


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Richard Rizzo on 05/14/2013 - 9:28 PM

It may help also to contact them if you haven't already and show them whatever proof of your work that you have.


Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/14/2013 - 9:32 PM

I did contact them. I asked them to show me their proof. The original painting is in my private collection. I could take a picture of that I guess, but without seeing it in person, how would that work in an E-mail. As I said, I constructed the composition from a series of personal photographs, that I no longer have, and the painting looks nothing like those photos.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/14/2013 - 9:35 PM

what keywords or description did you use? they often attack those first. is it possible a company stole the image and made it their mascot? usually they do respond, and it's always something you never thought of.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Heather Applegate on 05/14/2013 - 9:38 PM

Just did a reverse image search for you using google... didn't find it anywhere except on your own pages where it should be.


Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/14/2013 - 9:40 PM

I'd have to check, Mike, I can't remember. Good point. Pretty sure it was generic words. Postage, stamps, mail, snail mail, chickens, roosters,laying chickens,...oh, wait, I used the term Foghorn Leghorn because these type of chickens are the same kind of chickens he is. Foghorn laying chickens...well, he's not a chicken....anyway...could be that...must be that. Thanks, Mike.

Thank you, Heather. It must be the Foghorn Leghorn. Never occurred to me that would be an infringement to use it as a tag seeing that these chickens are the same type of chicken as he is.

I wonder if I can use the word foghorn? Not super important that I do. Just wondering if that would trigger the same red flag.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/14/2013 - 9:50 PM

like one guy had the colors of a college and mentioned the name of one, and he was flagged.

snail mail - maybe
foghorn - yeah, it's a warner bros thing.

they get you for the darndest of things, your text fields. some people put a real address or name in there - usually a college. or the text title, a word out of place. you should try entering something as a G rating and adding words that you thought was ok - cracker (it's slang and they don't like it), they didn't like the term boob tube for a tv, i had to change the title and description.

you can add leghorn, just not the first part. i would change everything else right now just so they don't nix the rest.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/14/2013 - 9:57 PM

Yes, good advise, Mike. The other product with the same chicken image didn't have the word foghorn in it. That is the actual name of that type of chicken. Leghorn would be technically more of a misuse. Weird.
Oh, well, it's really not that important in the scheme of things. Now that it may be something like that. I truly thought it was in regards to it being my painting and found that ridiculous.

Not letting you use cracker or boob tube is pretty ridiculous too.


Posted by: Heather Applegate on 05/14/2013 - 10:18 PM

Leghorn is the technical name of the chicken... foghorn was the first name of the cartoon chicken.... my SIL and brother have a couple white leghorns, and one brown leghorn.
So get rid of Foghorn, keep leghorn.


Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/14/2013 - 10:20 PM

Haha...I say, I say, I got that backwards...typical of me. Thanks, Heather. :-)


Posted by: John Ayo on 05/15/2013 - 5:57 AM

IIRC according to case law if you happen to be promoting the image via Google ads and the like you can still use foghorn leghorn in the targeted keywords so long as you don't use it in the ad copy. Trademark protection (which this is actually about, not copyright) lets a trademark owner stop other people from using their trademark in ads (except certain comparisons, etc.) and on products, but does not allow them to stop you from using a prospective customer's interest in (in this case, search on) their trademark to decide who to present your ad to.

If, for instance, a car magazine did a special issue on Ford and its past, present, & future vehicles, there would be no legal barrier (under trademark protection law) to Chevrolet placing an ad for their cars in that issue.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 05/15/2013 - 9:46 AM

Interesting. You can't copyright a title. I would think you can't copyright a keyword. If your species of chicken is the same as the character, it would seem to be a relevant tag. The image obviously is not derived from the character.

For example, the word or words "superman" existed long before the comic was written.


Posted by: JC Findley on 05/15/2013 - 9:53 AM

One of the reasons I no longer deal with Zazzle is all the words they will ding you for.

I had art removed for "Go Tigers"

Not any particular tigers mind you, just generic go tigers. That was the last straw.

(You cannot use the terms gig'em Aggies, Texas Longhorn (in the same phrase) or geaux Tigers either.)


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/15/2013 - 10:05 AM

i forget if it was on zazzle or not, but sometimes if a description formed a word at end of a sentence that would be enough to mess you up. like "this piece is dedicated to harry. potter by trade..." even if not related it could be picked up. i understand the suing issue and why they are hyper about it, but it's pretty annoying most of the time - and it fluctuates. i have one piece that happens to have the coke label in it. it makes up 5% of the image. it went through. i tried making something else with it - it did not.

now the fun part is - their system is designed to remove all images that infringe, and if you used their quick templates they can erase the whole batch. but if you did them one at a time, or made a template of one at a time items, they say they removed it all, but they only removed the one item. so sometimes you can still get away with it, or at least correct the word before they destroy the rest.

often they will shoot you before you can fix anything and you lose your gain in the market place. they do it without thinking. like they changed one guys store name because he had the word clock in the title, and they considered that spam, only because they introduced clocks. but now all his links were broken and they did it without asking or anything else. that place is just like that.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 05/15/2013 - 11:50 AM

You can trademark a word in keywords. Chihuly is trademarked and not allowed to be used as a keyword. That is just one.

If you are an affiliate of a company, you cannot often use their name as a keyword when advertising them. It is trademarked.


Posted by: John Ayo on 05/15/2013 - 2:03 PM

Abbie (though personally I liked your old name), that's not what trademarks are for or how they work. Courts have ruled, and the law pretty clearly states, that the only way to infringe on a trademark is to use it in a way that can cause confusion for a typical customer. Having an ad for Brand X come up when they search on Brand Y is not going to confuse the typical consumer.

Legally, you can use any darn keywords you want to determine when and where your non-infringing ad or product will show up. If I was a glass blower or sold glass blowing supplies and/or equipment I wouldn't think twice about choosing keywords so that my ads would show up alongside searches & pages about whatever famous glass-blowing artists or studios I could think of.

Sure, anyone can sue for any darn thing, but that doesn't make everything illegal or otherwise not allowed.


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 05/15/2013 - 2:16 PM

Go and tell all the affiliate sites that :)


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/15/2013 - 3:00 PM

regardless of definitions, zazzle will just remove your stuff. i remember a while ago when a german company complained they were using their name - MO and demanded all that stuff removed. without thinking they did a search and replace and anything that had MO in it was removed, including all the 1000's of mother's day cards all became ther day cards. and so on. so many complaints...

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jani Freimann on 05/15/2013 - 5:39 PM

I got a go ahead on the image today, but was told not to use Foghorn Leghorn or notable sayings as a tag. In this case, it doesn't really matter to me. I will, however, keep the word leghorn as a tag. Hopefully they won't flag it again for that word.

I'm glad they take copyright seriously, as that protects me, but agree that they take it too far and in affect throw the baby out with the bath water.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/15/2013 - 6:04 PM

they take it way too seriously there.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jim Poulos on 05/15/2013 - 8:35 PM

The original post mentioned stamps. Although I quit Zazzle several years ago, I did have an experience with stamps on Zazzle. It appears that Zazzle takes extra care with the images on stamps in order to comply with both its own policies and USPS regulations. I had posted this image for sale on a stamp

Sell Art Online

They asked for proof that I had the rights to the image and I provided a model release. They were fine with that


Posted by: John Ayo on 05/15/2013 - 9:32 PM

I can see being careful about stamps, since they also have to comply with postal regulations for those.

But otherwise, there is due diligence, abundance of caution, or living in fear. I choose the first,

I do avoid shooting people, but that's because I just don't want to be bothered with the whole model release thing. I just wanna make art. :)


This discussion is closed.