5

Is it legal to publish photos of products and their packaging? Can such be done anonymously on some open license? (which would be the best for such data to be open for public use, as products are generally available to see in shops for everyone?)

Where and how to publish?

Is Wikidata+Wikimedia right place?

I am thinking on (structured) data, that includes:

  • packaging photo
  • product photo
  • derived information
    • barcode(s) (EAN)
    • ingredients
    • weight, nutrition, etc.

What information requires publishers to be careful regarding sharing (e.g. prices in given shops)?

Update:

Thanks to insight from one of the answers the topic of "copyrighted materials" or "trademarks" on packages was pointed out. Fair concern. Therefore, let me frame question in direction of purpose, so additional questions, requirements:

  • what additional steps would make such collection feasible? (something that scales and is feasible for crowdsource preferably, e.g. "blurring out"/"black out" parts of images with products logos ? Converting to "black&white"? (unless product owner comes and gives permission by him/her self)?)
  • goal is to collect most "data" about product: barcode, ingredients, dietary information, amount of contents (ml,pieces,grams), plus eventually approvals from organizations.
    • imagine use case: you want to find set of products that compose into desired meal, but need to take care of allergies, diabetics and other constraints. Such db when cross across shops in (or webshop delivering to) your area, could provide valuable suggestions!
  • For barcodes, so far this is the best I could find: barcodesdatabase.org/barcode-search as unfortunately there is (to my knowledge) no open source database of barcodes yet. – Swier Jan 23 '17 at 12:59
5

As you can see in Wikimedia Commons, packages usually involve some copyrighted content and therefore its image can't be published under a free license. It can only be published with permission of copyright owners or under a suitable exception (like de minimis or fair use) although I'm afraid no such exception is suitable for a large collection of commercial packages - at least, I'm sure that collection wouldn't be allowed in Wikimedia Commons.

Update after question update:

Blurred images should be considered in an one by one basis. The main question is if all copyrighted material has been eliminated.

  • Probably OK to keep: Bare text without creative design stating bare facts without any creativity (list of ingredients, producer name and address, etc.), product name if typography is not creative.
  • Not OK to keep: photographs, text talking about the product, any graphical design elements.

Depending of your purpose, using copyrighted photographies may fall in fair use (in the USA), but fair use is not accepted in Wikimedia Commons. Furthermore, if you went for borderline cases, Wikimedia Commons would be a bad choice to store them, since they are at risk of being deleted at any time.

  • What if those logos would be blurrex/pixelized or blacked out, and only text left ? I think mostly about ingredients and dietary information, to make collection useful in finding products fitting dietary needs. (And yes -> rewriting contents of packages would not scale, I can imagine blurring out scaling) – Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Jan 23 '17 at 11:54
  • 1
    The best way to store text is scan it with character recognition and just store the text. Anyway, a photography or a scan of the text can be OK, specially if anything else is cut out or blurred. – Pere Jul 15 '17 at 13:12
  • Why are images protected? Wikipedia contains community-made photos for every major product. Like this one: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Anton Tarasenko Jul 17 '17 at 8:36
  • 1
    @AntonTarasenko You pointed to an image of the product, not of the packaging. Quoting US law, it doesn't incorporate "pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independ­ently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article". commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… – Pere Jul 17 '17 at 8:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.