Vendors using product shots of articles for sale
April 18, 2013 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend to runs a pizza place and I am helping him with his menu. We had a question about the legality (in terms of copyright or whatever) when using trademarked items on his menu that he also sells.

Typical pizzeria, mostly a carryout or delivery and some seating. So it’s a small place. Anyway, he is putting together his new menu and the question came up as to what images he can include on it. He has an original logo that he hired an artist to create and a few product shots he also had done. Should there be a need for more product shots of food, he would purchase those or have them shot.

However, the question comes down to things like cans of soda - Coke, Fanta, San Pellegrino and there are other types of items like dry pasta. Given that he sells those products, is he allowed to include a picture of a product on the distributed menu? Or is there a copyright/legal/whatever issue in doing so?

This place is outside Chicago, IL
posted by lampshade to Work & Money (4 answers total)
If he's actually listing Coca-Cola (TM) on the menu, I don't see why not.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:23 PM on April 18, 2013

You might consider contacting The Coca-Cola Company, whose website includes downloadable images that you can probably use in your menu.
posted by applesurf at 7:45 PM on April 18, 2013

This is a good question for the local distributor of the products in question. At first glance it seems like it should be no big deal, but I know (from professional experience) that companies work pretty closely with retailers in how/when/if products/trademarks can be used in advertisements for the retailers' business. (In the case I'm familiar with, it had to do with a software manufacturer's logo and a national electronics chain. Compensation was flowing in both directions, due to the contracts involved, but the manufacturer closely monitored the chain's circulars.)

I suspect that the beverage companies wouldn't care, as long as the advertising complied with their standards (certain stock footage, no listing of Coca-Cola as the beverage of choice of Poo Eaters, etc). So your friend should ask his distributor.

Good luck to your friend!
posted by stowaway at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2013

Yeah, it is pretty low grade stuff. I guess if this was a beverage distributor with competing brands, it might be an issue. However, we are talking a single location, suburban pizzeria well off the beaten path.

The software company angle is interesting, but I would wonder if those companies would object as their product's reputation depends a bit on the expertise of the vendor. In the case of soft drinks, there is only so much variation that can happen.

And the downloadable images seem to be the ticket.

Thanks everyone!
posted by lampshade at 4:01 PM on April 19, 2013

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