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Topic: Copyright Info / Using Other Peoples' Images / Etc  (Read 79106 times)
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Joined: 29-Nov-2003

Dee's Dwelling ---- Stuff. Cheap.

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« on: December 02, 2003 09:12:22 AM »

Could someone please enlighten me?  I've been getting a lot of mixed information on this and I am confused...

Does anyone actually know the rules on what you can use and what you can't (and how)?  Does age play part?  Does that old 50 years+ rule apply?  And if you alter more than 50% of the image, does it really make a difference?

I am seeing a lot of crafts being sold featuring pin-up girls by well-known artists, etc...  I thought those were off-limits!  

And cutting pictures out of vintage magazines and using them for a unique item (decoupage) vs. scanning, printing, and reproducing it for a series of the same item, does it make a difference?

I have sooooooo many questions...

Anyone have any solid clues or know of any reliable resources?



« Last Edit: March 07, 2004 01:32:25 PM by the craftster admin (leah) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

http://www.deesdwelling.com  ----  Stuff. Cheap.
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2003 06:53:12 PM »

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.  However, I make my living in the realm of intellectual property enforcement and hopefully can shed a little light.

The rule you should always stick to with copyrighted images is that if you didn't create the material or obtain permission to use that material, you shouldn't assume it's okay to use.  (Especially if your intent is to sell that material in some form.)  

There are aspects of fair use when derivative works are created from copyrighted originals.  Fair use of a copyrighted work must pass a four factor test which includes how much of an image is used and what the nature of the use will be.

A work eventually falls into the public domain when the copyright protecting it expires.  The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.  Thanks to Disney, works created before that date have the ability to be renewed for even longer than they used to.

Copyright holders vary in how aggressively they pursue infringement matters - for example, in the realm of the pin-up, the estate of Alberto Vargas and Playboy are both very, very aggressive.  

There are many different views and opinions on copyright and really there's not a simple guideline to follow.  There are plenty of places to go to read more about it, however.  Here are a few:
U.S. Copyright Office

Fair Use

What is Copyright?

If you're asking these questions for business reasons, you must realize that you run a risk when you use any copyright or trademark (things like the McDonald's arches or Playboy bunny are trademarks, not copyrights) that does not belong to you.  It's never a bad idea to consult an attorney if you're worried about a potential legal situation somewhere down the line.

Again, not legal advice, not an attorney.
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2003 10:55:17 AM »

Thank you so very much for your detailed response!  

That defnitely sheds more than a little light on the issue... I know everyone will be able to appreciate this information.

Thanks again!



http://www.deesdwelling.com  ----  Stuff. Cheap.
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2004 06:13:11 PM »

Hey, I just have a question for any of you craftsters who sell what you make. When you use images from magazines, comic books, etc. in your crafts (the glass marble bracelets, for example, or celebrities screenprinted on t-shirts), is that legal? I'm interested in using images for some of my projects, but I don't want to end up getting sued or something (worst case scenario) for making a profit off somebody else's image without permission. Has anyone looked into this, or do you all just kind of do it and hope for the best? Any insight into this at all would be great! Smiley
« Last Edit: February 18, 2004 04:40:32 AM by the craftster admin (leah) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2004 07:21:46 PM »

It's legal and "fair use" to make whatever you like from these images but *not* legal to sell what you make from them.  Photographs from magazines, etc, are copyrighted and property of the magazine or photographer, and comic art is also copyrighted and licensed, etc.  Even craft supplies with licensed characters (like Disney fabric or Spongebob candy molds) are only for personal use, not for sale.  Some older images (I forget the number of years, 50?  75?) have expired copyrights and can be used (that doesn't mean that everything over a certain age can be used though -- just ones where copyrights weren't renewed -- so like Superman would still be off limits, but a random image from a book is probably ok).

That said, if you are a very very small operation, you probably wouldn't be found out, and if you were you wouldn't be sued for everything you have or anything -- you'd just get a cease and desist order to stop selling them.  But if you're selling, you're generally better off (and even more unique) if you use your own photos and art.

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Ms Paige
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2004 07:31:09 PM »

Since i'm just doing things small scale, I really not concerened. If I use another artists work, I credit them somehow (by including their signature from the art piece somewhere or simply stating "art by so-and-so")
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2004 07:52:03 PM »

Let me just say that I am not a lawyer, just a photographer/graphic artist/wannab clothing designer that likes knowing my rights... Do a search on yahoo/google and you will find a wealth of information regarding copyright... Oh and I live in the US, so what I know applies to here....

Selling anything containing material that you are not the original author of, you do not have written permission to use, and is not in public domain: Then yes you are breaking the law and run the risk of being sued... What is considerd "fair use" varies from case to case and is a rather complicated beast... but let me just say that I doubt that police will be raiding your closet seeking homemade t-shirts with copyrighted images on them.

Other good things to know...
#1  "Royalty Free" does not necessarily mean "Free", it just means that the "buyer" does not have to pay a fee every time they use an image... Many stock image services charge a one time fee for an image and allow the "buyer" a certain degree of subsequent use.

#2 Just because an image is "old", does not mean it is in public domain.. If you can not for sure determine that an image is in public domain, then assume it is copyrighted.

#3 Also keep an eye out for little disclaimers attached to "free" material, quite often the creator has stated that the work is "free" for non-profit use... Which means they still have legal grounds to sue you, if you made a profit off their work.

Oh and while I am rambling about copyright, some other good things to know... Altering/Editing an image does not make it yours nor does it change the copyright holders right to sue you. Fonts can be copyrighted and designs can also be copyrighted... So just be aware of your sources, especially if you plan on selling your goods.

Well I hope I cleared something up... My general philosophy is: As a starving artist I would not appreciate someone altering/selling my work without my permission, so why would I do the same to someone else?  Grin

Lovely Craaaft! Wonderful Craaaft! Lovely Craaaft! Wonderful Craft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. <--- sing to the tune of the "Spam" song....
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2004 09:17:20 PM »

You guys have been very helpful. I kind of figured that it wouldn't be a good idea to use images that aren't mine, but I see so many other people doing it that I thought maybe I could be wrong. Thanks so much for clearing things up for me though Smiley

« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2004 10:32:15 PM »

hey everyone-
this is a really cool forum i have to say, i'm glad i came across it.

anyhow, i wasn't exactly sure where to post my
question, so i hope it's ok here..
does anyone know the laws about using other
people's pictures and stuff on something i make? for instance, putting an old picture of the knack (a band) on a bag i made, or cutting pictures out of magazines and putting them on the cover of a homemade journal...assuming that I'd like to sell my stuff someday.  I've seen sites that do this and sell their stuff...but I was wondering if anyone knew for sure. thanks a bunch,
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2004 10:51:34 PM »

I'll add that sometimes when selling an item that the image was not created by you (i.e. an image from an album cover) you may need to obtain permission from multiple sources....
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007 04:39:33 AM by sweets4ever » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Lovely Craaaft! Wonderful Craaaft! Lovely Craaaft! Wonderful Craft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. Cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-ft. <--- sing to the tune of the "Spam" song....
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