Question about copyrighted pictures

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by KB, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. KB

    KB Guest

    I am currently taking a beginning adult education Photoshop class at a local
    community college. While I don't own PS, I do have PS Elements that came
    bundled with my film scanner.

    I have been follwing a few of the recent threads on various newsgroups
    regarding the copyrighting on photographs. I will be starting a class
    project soon and the Instructor keeps reiterating that no copyrighted images
    will be used. To be honest I am confused on a few points and I do not want
    to violate any copyrights.

    My questions/comments are as follows:

    1.) I need a picture of an alligator or crocodile. I Googled the image
    section and found a few. I disregarded sites that had a copyright
    protection notice as I do not have time to contact the copyright holder for
    permission to use them.

    2.) What about the rest. If there is no copyright notice, is copyright
    assumed. In other words is every image assumed to have copyright protection
    at the time a shutter is pushed or does an image have to be registered at
    the Library of Congress to have copyright protection. If the former, does
    that mean that no image obtained from the internet can be used?

    3.) Tonight after work I will be searching back issues of magazines for
    anything good to scan for class. I understand that if I bought the magazine
    or book I can use the image.

    4.) None of my work will be available for sale. That's because I am still a
    "rank" amatuer :)



    ksrbrown at
    KB, Feb 5, 2004
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  2. KB

    Tom Thackrey Guest

    Copyright is assumed with or without markings.
    There are some public domain sources of images. Check the library of
    congress web site. You could also buy one of the many cleap 'clip-art'
    photography collections.

    This site will help you figure out what's in the public domain.
    Tom Thackrey, Feb 5, 2004
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  3. Hi, K,

    Copyright law isn't rocket science. Please take a look at
    for links to recognized authorities on copyright and to the law itself.

    You don't say where in the world you are, so there's no sure answer to your
    question; although copyright laws are generally uniform throughout the
    world, there are national differences.

    _Generally_, an image is copyrighted the moment it is 'fixed in a medium.'
    This means the film is exposed or the digital image is written to Compact
    Flash or whatever is used to store the image. Whether a copyright notice is
    apparent or not has no bearing on whether an image is copyrighted. So you
    are not safe using a picture you find on the Web or in a magazine without a
    copyright notice.

    Getting an image and altering it does not make it your own; the image is
    copyrighted, and your alteration is called a derivative work; only the
    owner of the copyright can authorize derivative works.

    Being a bad artist is not an excuse from following copyright law ("but
    officer, I'm a bad driver" doesn't get you off, either, right? :->).

    Doing a search on Google exactly as follows got me 740,000 hits, some of
    which look like what you need:
    +"royalty free" +images

    Have fun, and thanks for making sure you're following the guidelines for
    proper use of another's property.
    Phil Stripling, Feb 5, 2004
  4. KB

    Voivod Guest

    In addition to all the good advice you've already been given (i.e.
    it's ALL copyrighted) go here and look for the gator or croc
    pictures you need, they're public domain:
    Voivod, Feb 5, 2004
  5. KB

    Ed E. Guest

    The easiest way to resolve it is to e-mail the author explaining that you'd
    like to use his/her photograph for a school project and you'd like their
    permission. I get requests like that pretty frequently, and I typically let
    people use them for non-commercial use and a fixed period of time (like 6
    Ed E., Feb 5, 2004
  6. KB

    PTRAVEL Guest

    All photos taken after approximately 1927 are protected by copyright (unless
    they defaulted into the public domain due to failure to renew a
    registration, publication prior to registration before 1978, or procedural
    errors, e.g. failure to include a notice for pre-1978 works. Post-1978, all
    that is required for copyright protection is fixation of a work of
    authorship in a tangible medium. Notice is not required. You almost
    certainly can't use these photographs without permission.
    Registration is a prerequisite for an infringement action (if the photo was
    created in the US). It also confers certain benefits, e.g. presumption of
    ownership and validity, eligibility for statutory damages, etc. However,
    works are protected upon fixation in a tangible medium -- no registration
    If the image is in the public domain it can be used.
    No, you cannot. Owning a lawful copy of a protected work does not allow you
    to make your own copies or derivative works. Your use may constitute a fair
    use, which is a _defense_ to infringement, i.e. but for the defense of fair
    use what you'd be doing would result in liability for infringement, but
    without knowing a lot more about what you're doing I couldn't say.
    Doesn't matter.
    PTRAVEL, Feb 5, 2004
  7. KB

    Donald Gray Guest

    I see that you have had the answers re copyright.

    Personably, I am quite sensitive about my copyrights BUT if it were to
    be used by a student for his/her lessons, I certainly would not gripe.
    I would say Help Yourself.

    I would not get upperty, if I discovered it had been used without my
    consent, if it were for that purpose.

    I am sure that 99% of copyright holders would feel the same. (As long
    as it is not published other than in college.)
    Donald Gray
    Putting ODCOMBE on the Global Village Map!
    You do not have to email me, but if you wish to...
    Please remove the SafetyPin from my email address first
    Donald Gray, Feb 5, 2004
  8. KB

    jrzyguy Guest

    if you only using it for a college project...and it wont be on-line....i
    really wouldnt worry about it. will be used on-line....even for an amature web site with no
    profit...DO contact the my experience they are pretty
    easy going with sharing as long as you give them some credit on the site.
    (in my case i was looking for a picture of the Dakota Hotel for a NYC
    collage....didnt feel like shlepping up the the UWS to take it myself.
    found a great shot on line...contacted the photographer..and he had NO
    problem at all with me using his shot. Again..that is one
    photographer...some i am sure am very uptight.)

    I am mindfull of other peoples property tho. I took a photo of this shops
    store sign....and have altered one letter that makes it quite humorous an
    particularily perfect for my site....however i DONT use it cuz it contains
    their cool logo work). rambling...hope that ads something to the plethera of advise you have
    already recieved.
    jrzyguy, Feb 5, 2004
  9. KB

    brougham5 Guest

    In the United States, unless there is a signed contract indicating
    otherwise, the photographer owns the copyright to an image immediately after
    he clicks on the shutter release. (This is an over simplification. But
    we're not really concerned with work for hire you.)

    That said, just because somebody else owns the copyright to an image does
    not automatically mean that you cannot use it. There are "fair use"
    considerations. I believe that in an educational setting you can claim
    "fair use" if you are using a copyrighted image in the course of an
    assignment. I don't know all the details of this, but as long as you only
    use the image for your class assignment and don't display what you have done
    outside the classroom, you should be fine.

    If you decide that you want to display your homework on your web site, you
    may run afoul of the fair use provision.
    brougham5, Feb 5, 2004
  10. KB

    Chris Guest

    Copyright protection is to be assumed, unless specifically waived. Your
    best bet is to do a search for photos listed as "public domain", and print
    out the section of the website which makes the claim, just to cover
    Purchase of a book is generally allotted to "personal use". Reproducing art
    or text therein may likewise be considered a violation. Read the fine print
    which is generally located on the publisher or table of contents page. It
    should say whether reproduction permission is granted. If it's not in
    there, don't assume it's allowed.
    Everyone has to start somewhere. ;-)
    Chris, Feb 6, 2004
  11. Photos taken by government employees in the course of their duties are in
    the public domain because they were paid for with your taxes. That's my
    understanding. That's why everyone and his uncle has NASA pictures. Go to
    the Department of the Interior, or other gov site, and look for your croc.
    In any case, your teacher has the right to make the rules for his class.
    However, I don't think it would be a copyright violation if he made one copy
    per student of a croc picture. According to "The Public Domain" by Nolo
    Press, it sounds like your croc pix would fall under the educational fair
    use guidelines. You can get a copy at the Copyright Office website at

    Best regards,
    Craig Scheiner
    Executive Producer
    CPS Associates
    Video Production and Publication
    Craig Scheiner, Feb 6, 2004
  12. That was not the point.

    The instructor said not to use copyrighted material. To me that means
    not to use it even with permission.

    When I was in college, which wasn't all that long ago, (I graduated in
    90), when an instructor said not to use copy righted material he or
    she meant that literally. Different schools and different times, but
    were it me, I'd check to find out if copyrighted material "with
    permission" was permissible. Otherwise, there is a huge pool of public
    domain stuff available from the government sites.

    As has been pretty well determined, almost anything on the net is
    copyrighted, "unless" it actually says, "public Domain". Even material
    that says "may be used freely for personal use", does not eliminate
    the copyright.

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger Halstead, Feb 6, 2004
  13. Fair use does not apply. The instructor said not to use copyrighted

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger Halstead, Feb 6, 2004
  14. KB

    Manticore Guest

    What a minefield copyright seems to be.

    Consider the dozens of websites where Photoshop contests take place
    and everyday famous people and celebrity images are used and
    manipulated.People in the public eye seem to have less rights than the rest
    of us. "Parody" seems to enable an image to be taken and used, then the
    question arises concerning the copyright for the original photographer of
    that image. Lawyers must love the Copyright Laws in place throughout the
    Manticore, Feb 6, 2004
  15. Well the problem is since 1987 in the US, and earlier in Europe, every picture
    taken is automatically copyrighted by the photographer (before the US signed
    the Bearne convention, you had to register the picture with the copyright
    office). You can release a picture to the public domain, or have a copyright
    that says anybody can use it. I assume the instructor meant do not use
    copyrighted material unless you are the copyright holder, but if he/she really
    meant no copyrighted material, you might have to find something that is
    explicitly released to the public domain, or pre-1987.
    Michael Meissner, Feb 6, 2004
  16. KB

    Chris Guest

    People in the public eye are generally default-bound to be photographed,
    recorded, hounded for autographs, beset upon by crazed fanclubs, etc.. It's
    predisposed that they will be photographed, and it's the photographer's
    picture to copyright, and no one else's. The difference lies in stealing a
    film made by someone else, or telling the photographer he or she can't use
    their own property as they see fit.

    It's a definite contrast, as the average person doesn't worry about
    professional photo-shoots, image endorsement, representation, etc...
    Chris, Feb 6, 2004
  17. Consider the dozens of websites where Photoshop contests take
    At least in the U.S., once one enters the public eye voluntarily, they
    do have fewer rights when it comes to defamation and privacy torts. No
    "seeming" about it.
    Which questions arise? The copyright on the original work remains
    Here's a couple of secrets. First, most attorneys never handle an
    intellectual property case. I would guess that less than half ever
    take a course in the subject.

    Second, in order for a copyright case to make the jump into real
    courtrooms, it has to be worth suing over. If you assume that
    "worth suing" equates to "financial gain," you'll rarely be wrong.
    In the U.S., unless you register your work within 3 months of
    publication or before the infringement occurs, your recovery is
    limited to actual damages and any additional profits of the

    Worse, many infringers are "judgment proof." They simply don't
    have enough assets to make a lawsuit worthwhile. The combination
    of the registration requirement, the cost of bringing a suit in
    federal court, and judgment proof infringers deters all but the
    juiciest lawsuits.
    Michael Benveniste, Feb 6, 2004
  18. Errr, only partially correct.

    Let's take a look at the case of governmentally obtained Hubble images.
    Your tax dollars may have put the scope in orbit and the dollars being
    used by the researchers may have come from a government grant.
    Nonetheless, the images obtained in that case don't become public domain
    until STSCI releases them, which occurs sometime after the original
    acquisition in order to protect the researcher's intellectual property
    rights and ability to publish the material. PR campaigns, where the
    images are released immediately, are typically a different issue.

    As with so many of the other examples posted in this thread, erring on
    the side of just assuming use and grabbing the goods w/o contacting the
    original parties is not a good idea. Get a hold of the folks who posted
    the image and *ask* first.
    Mike Richmann, Feb 6, 2004
  19. KB

    Rowley Guest

    Haven't read the other replies yet.

    All images whether or not they have a copyright notice are still protected by

    Depends on the use and/or on the wishes of the owner. There are a lot of stuff
    on the web that is "free" because the owners allow it to be. Also, fair use
    guidelines allow for non-commercial use of copyright material for "educational"
    purposes - but the use is conditional and has limits.

    Buying a magazine or book doesn't give you license to use the images contained
    in them, not unless such use is spelled out somewhere in the publication.
    However, if you are using the images for a class, such use may fall under fair

    Fair use allows for students to use photos / images in school projects;

    * Illustrations or photographs:
    no more than five images from one artist or photographer.
    no more than 10% or 15 images, whichever is less, from a collection.

    As long as it only "appears" in the classroom most of your work will probably
    fall under fair use - however, if you plan on later using what you created in
    the class in your portfolio, then you shouldn't use anything without the
    original owner's permission.

    Rowley, Feb 12, 2004
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