Highly Disappointed
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2018 6:24:22 AM
I had placed an order on November 26, 2018 for a coffee mug with mugshot of famous gangsters (Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger). I received an email the next day explaining that my order was canceled. I called customer service and they told me it went against their content guidelines - because it had pictures of "mug shots" all those mug shots are public record... & I am not promoting criminal activity... this was supposed to be a gift for a history buff. The customer service agent sent me an email to reach out to the Content Management Team, which I did and they denied my request again. I then asked if they thought if I cropped out the numbers the men are holding that it would be acceptable... they denied. I figured I would try it one more time because they were nice enough to give me a promo code to still keep the discount I had received. So, I customized the coffee mug of just pictures of Al Capone - these photos were NOT mug shots. They were just normal pictures of Al Capone... and Zazzle still denied my content. I am beyond annoyed, beyond disappointed, and will not use Zazzle again. I was able to place an order through a different company that produces customized gifts.
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2018 8:41:45 AM
The photographs may be public domain, but you don't have model releases from the people in the photographs. Zazzle notes in the user agreement about possible rights infringement: "This means you can't use images of celebrities". Even if you'd taken the image, and owned the rights to the image, you don't have the rights to produce that person's likeness.

In cases where the person is really old, this may not always be an issue (plenty of pictures of Jesus on Zazzle... no issues there). But this case is people who were alive not that long ago. My rule of thumb would be that if photographs exist of a person, that's likely to be too soon.
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2018 10:18:36 AM
Yeah... I think Zazzle is likely in the right here... while the mugshots themselves may be in the public domain, the people in them, even if dead, may still have the "right to publicity" that would prevent you from using the images commercially. Printing them on a mug is quite different than using the images in say, a documentary film about crime or a history book. It's a bit complicated and the laws can be not only vague, but different state to state, so it's no surprise that Zazzle would treat it conservatively. They have a lot to lose if they play fast and loose.

https://www.newmediarights.org/put_mugshot_it_things_think_about_using_mugshots_commercial_products
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2018 8:49:42 PM
That's a copyright violation.
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 4:05:56 PM
Mug Shots taken by federal agents (example FBI) are public domain, and could be used on mugs etc. But state mug shots may or may not be public domain. It depends on the local rules.

So, if you're using historical images look for federal photographs.
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 6:00:36 PM
Hi Emily,

I'm sorry that you didn't have a positive experience with your order. If you would like specific clarification of why your image was rejected, please respond to the email you received from our content management team.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact our customer service team or respond to this thread at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your time.

Best regards,

Elizabeth P.
Posted: Monday, December 10, 2018 11:09:56 AM
Hi everyone,

At this time, we're moving this thread out of the affiliate forum as it's not the correct topic for this specific forum.

Thanks!
Elizabeth P.
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