Q&A: Can I use Images from Amazon for a Product Review Site?

This question comes from Reddit, /u/snevs:

Question

For a review site, are pics taken from amazon or somewhere that illustrate the item reviewed considered fair use?

Response

Fair use is a context specific, case-by-case determination. This means that you don’t really know the answer until you get an opinion from the judge. But I would think if you are using the amazon picture for purposes of critiquing the product that it would be defensible under fair use.

I didn’t say this, but if this person uses the Amazon pictures to not just review the product but also to sell it, like through an affiliate link for example, I think that is a factor that would weight against the fair use defense. Like I said, it’s a very context specific determination.

I also wonder if there is something in a Amazon terms of services about the use of images for affiliate marketing purposes. I assume there is, but I haven’t looked them up. Maybe one day…

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Leland Faux
Attorney Leland Faux blogs about trademark, copyright, and online business issues at Law of the Brand. You can submit a question by email to thelawofthebrand@gmail.com.

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