We are building a product which will aim to have curated data of items in the medical field. This data will be accessed by our users but is only used for information and educational resource.
For example a user is looking for a medical item. He types the name and the company brand of that item. Our database will show him that medical item along with relevent education information like what it is used for and with any relevant images and videos.
Unfortunately we are using the companies images of their product and excerpts from their product descrription to show case their product to our users.
My question is are we infringing on any copyright in doing this? I know it sounds like a ‘yes’, but are we not also advertising their products to their users? Do we need to make the medical item generic and not to mention any companies?
Thank you for your time.
Alasdair Taylor's Answer
Thanks for your question.
I’d need more information in order to give any definitive answers, but the following general points may help:
- photographs will usually be protected by copyright, and there is a good chance that using them without permission will constitute copyright infringement;
- similarly, products descriptions may be protected by copyright and if you are using a substantial amount of a description, that could be an infringement;
- depending upon the source of the data, there may also be a question of database right infringement (copyright is unlikely to protect this type of database, but the sui generis database right may);
- the fact that you are advertising products doesn’t make any different from the perspective of copyright law, although it may of course reduce the risk of a compliant or claim.