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Friday, October 06, 2006


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Company: Taking Pictures of Our Product Is Copyright Infringement:

» Salonquest scare letter: photos of our products violate our copyright from Overlawyered
Public Citizen Litigation Group's Greg Beck blogs a refutation though, alas, he doesn't single out the attorney who makes the absurd claim. Beck notes the problem:Even if a claim like Aquage's is without legal merit,... [Read More]

» Shampoo eBay seller threatened by manufacturer for photographing product from Boing Boing
Jamie Olson from California bought some Aquage shampoo, made by SalonQuest, and offered it for sale on eBay. Her eBay listing included her own photos of the product. Soon after, a private investigator hired by SalonQuest, emailed Olson, demanding the s... [Read More]

» An example of what is NOT copyright infringement from Chick Chat
Apparently, SalonQuest is threatening to sue an eBay seller for copyright infringement . . . . for including a photo of the bottles of Aquage shampoo she is selling in her listings. Apparently, SalonQuest's lawyers missed the day they taught fai... [Read More]

» Physical Rights Management from Geek And Poke
Finally the day has come that also the companies producing physical products are fighting for their rights (see Techdirt and CLP). Hopefully they will adapt the great rights management systems from the digital world. [Read More]

» Photo or infringement? from Reasonable Basis
Greg Beck at the CLP Blog has an excellent post about companies asserting copyright infringement against those reselling their products on the Internet. Typically resellers show photographs of the products and manufacturers assert that the unauthorized... [Read More]


Joe Gratz

I think it's an even easier case than you indicate -- it seems the seller in such a case wouldn't even have to rely on fair use. The Copyright Act deals specifically with this issue at 17 U.S.C. 113(c):

In the case of a work lawfully reproduced in useful articles that have been offered for sale or other distribution to the public, copyright does not include any right to prevent the making, distribution, or display of pictures or photographs of such articles in connection with advertisements or commentaries related to the distribution or display of such articles, or in connection with news reports.


I just went to the Aguage homepage.

On this they display a toll-free US phone number
you could call free to tell them that you do not
like this kind of behaviour.

Cranston Snord

In any case, a bottle of shampoo does not have the necessary creativity involved in its composition to qualify for copyright in the first place. Copyright is for creative works, not a name on a bottle.

And while trademark law _could_ apply to bottle design, it does not do so in this case because the product itself is genuine so the mark is not being used improperly.

Kevin Wells

Aquage's contracts with its distributors doesn't give it the power to control the entire secondary market for its products.

You're absolutely right. This is a classic case of the "first sale doctrine," which states that, after you have sold a copyrighted work, you no longer have the right to control what is done with it.

Unlike computer software and other digital works, where the distributors will claim that you are actually purchasing a "license," (which is ridiculous in itself, but that's another post), physical objects fall firmly within the first sale doctrine. It's the same reason that you can sell books to a friend or a second-hand shop.


Seems like this Blog also made it onto Boing Boing, so good old SalonQuest must be suing a lot of people by now.I can't wait to get my Desist Email Down-Under in Brisbane LOL!

Bill Clinton

What a bunch of low life "have nothing better to do" scum. Just leave people alone... telling that you can't take a picture of something and post it ... might as well put it into the same league as porno pictures... sheeesh


This person has had filled numerous suits against companies making the same copyright and trademark claims.


HI, just reading this thread becasue I recently listed some Aquage products on eBay and also got an email,I was told that they only sell to licensed cosmetologists or salons, and that these licsensed professionals enter into contracts not to sell aquage other than in a professional salon, I am a licsensed cosmetologist and bought the product without any mention of a contract..I was told I have five days to remove all products and put in writing that I will never sell Aquage over the internet or through mail-order again and if I don't comply I will be contacted by their legal team,I'm trying to figure out if I am doing something illegal or not.


I received that too .. here's a copy of the email:

This office represents SalonQuest LLC on issues relating to the distribution policies of its professional product lines.

As you know, SalonQuest manufactures Aquage products, a high quality line of hair care products that are sold exclusively through licensed beauty salons. SalonQuest has contracts with all of its distributors limiting the resale of its products only to licensed salons and cosmetologists. In turn, salons and cosmetologists purchasing SalonQuest products agree that the products will not be resold or redistributed through non-salon outlets.

It has come to our attention that you are offering Aquage products for sale on Ebay. This activity constitutes a violation of SalonQuest’s distribution policies.

We hereby demand that you immediately remove all Aquage products from your Ebay offerings and that you confirm for us in writing your agreement to permanently discontinue all sales of Aquage products over the internet or through any other form of mail order.

Absent a satisfactory response from you within five days of the date of this letter, the matter will be referred to SalonQuest’s legal counsel for further action.

Patricia L. Urban

Security Essentials LLC

34 S. Main St.

Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

cc: Dennis Lubin—President, SalonQuest LLC


Any updates on this??? I'm having the same correspondence right now myself?????


Okay, what is the deal? I too am an eBay seller and received this same letter. I think the way around it is to list the item WITHOUT a picture. And if you use a picture, either blur out the Aquage logo/name or turn it to the side so one cannot read the Aguage name. Any suggestions? This product does sell well online but does not sell for CRAP in the beauty salon


These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.


quote: "This product does sell well online but does not sell for CRAP in the beauty salon"

Given that bit of information, I wish everyone would comply with their requests / demands and leave the sales (or lack of) to the salons. After having inventory sitting on the shelves for far too long, perhaps even they will stop selling the products and the-shampoo-whose-name-cannot-be-spoken (for fear of "copyright infringement") will disappear from the face of the Earth.


What ever happened with this?


As to the case covered in the blog post, SalonQuest did not pursue the issue beyond sending threatening letters. Since then, others have complained about receiving the same or similar letters, but I have not heard of any cases where SalonQuest has taken any further action.

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