As I was posting this picture on Retrospace Zeta, it got me thinking about things. Not about how unintentionally gay this advertisement is, but about whose pictures are these, anyway? I mean the intranets are full of billions of images being passed around. There seems to be some marginal attempt at obtaining permission from original sources, but it's usually just at the big sites like IMDb where they're likely to get sued. A lot of blogs have some pitiful disclaimer (check out the bottom of my sidebar), but it would never hold up in any real legal action. And, honestly, it's just damn near impossible to determine who these images belong to - especially in the case of vintage photos. Let's take a look at the image above, and try to trace it backwards...
1. I'm posting it here on Retrospace
2. I posted on my Tumblr blog Retrospace Zeta, where it was reblogged at least 5 times as of this writing.
3. I swiped it from a site called Vintage 123
4. Vintage 123 took it from a September 1971 issue of McCall’s magazine
So, who does this ad belong to? McCalls? Very doubtful.
The ad would be owned by the company that produced the product and commissioned the ad - Canada Dry. However, it's not as simple as that, and so it doesn't stop there.
It is highly unlikely that Canada Dry copyrighted the advertisement. Any legal action would come from trademark infringement. Fortunately, the risk of monetary liability for re-publishing the Canada Dry trademark is exceedingly low - almost nonexistent. And even if the ad was copyright-protected the risk of legal action is still negligible. And why is that?
The Nominative Use Doctrine saves our blogging butts. It states that if "the user does nothing to suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder", we bloggers are squeaky clean!
I apologize if this was a boring post, but I just wanted to know if I was going to get sued any time soon. It's a relief to find that posting these vintage pictures is legit. Whew! However, I should mention that, while Canada Dry may actually be glad to have their brand name reprinted over and over again, the greedy bastards at the record companies are not so cozy with the idea. Sharing music is still kind of a risky practice. Damn you, Metallica!