Magazines...photographers...images...and me :D

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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simmy_e
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Magazines...photographers...images...and me :D

Post by simmy_e » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:28 pm

Hi there,

I currently decoupage artwork (for personal projects) and use images and single words from magazines (no company logo's or trademarks are visible)

Each piece of my artwork contains approximately 50 separate images and words.

I'm now considering creating my art work to sell.

Reading the related questions in this forum...am I right in assuming that this infringes copyright law? As copyright would belong to the photographer or the magazine?

Can I contact the magazine/photographer to get permission to use the images?

Can I take photo's of the pages of the magazine...then use the photo's within my work?

Thanks in advanced
*..."living my life like its golden"...*

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:19 pm

Hi simmy,
Yes you are right in thinking that if you use images from magazines, you will need permission from the copyright owner, who is normally the photographer. There are occasions when a photographer assigns his copyright to someone else (possibly the magazine) but generally speaking the photographer will just license the magazine to use his image for that specific purpose.
Many magazines credit the photographer or their agency but if not, you should be able to get the necessary details via the picture editor of the magazine concerned. It is worth bearing in mind that some images will come from stock libraries who will probably not be mandated to handle requests such as yours to use the images in adaptations, which is what you finished collages are known as. They will need to pass your request on to the photographer.
There should not be any problem copying individual words copied from magazine layouts, or in using the fonts themselves.
If you copy (by photography or any other means) a whole page of a magazine, you will need permission from the magazine's publishers, as that constitutes a different form of copyright, namely the typographical layout of a published edition.
The essential thing to bear in mind when deciding to seek permission is that infringement only occurs where a substantial part of something is copied. So the whole of an image is substantial, as would be the main element or essence of the image. The whole of a page of a magazine would normally be a substantial part of it, but a few random words would not. The 'substantial' bit applies to the bit you copy, not its role in your final collage/decoupage. Assuming that you use sufficient creativity and effort in creating your work (and you have got permission for those parts which are substantial copies) then you will be entitled to copyright in your work.
One final point. Photographers (and other owners of copyright works) have the moral right for their work not to be treated in a derogatory way, so when seeking permission it may be worth explaining the sort of work you intend to create, in case the owner of the underlying work might later object.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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