Copying pictures to use as a point of illustration

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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MarkSD
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Copying pictures to use as a point of illustration

Post by MarkSD » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:25 am

Hello,

I was seeking some clarification on an issue regarding copying pictures on the internet.
I wish to copy a picture on a website, insert my own slogan over this picture, and show it to a colleague via email (jpeg picture), in order to use this picture as as a point of illustration about the look I think might be appropriate for use in a marketing poster. For example, if I copy an online picture (without payment) of a cardboard box and insert my own marketing slogan over this item, or if I copy an image of a table or desk item or a model and insert my own slogan over this picture, and use it as a guide in the type of look appropriate for a poster. Of course, having emailed this picture, if the poster was liked, the image copied will not be used in any promotional work published, but our own picture would then be taken of a box or a table or a model and then my slogan inserted on this. I wanted to know what the legal position is of copying this picture (not paid for) and inserting my slogan on this to use as a point of reference for a colleague and emailing it to a colleague to get their view on whether they think this type of look might be appropriate. The picture would be for private reference only.

Regards,

Mark

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:48 am

Hi Mark,
Section 29 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 allows a copy of an artistic work to be made for the purpose of private study or research:
29 Research and private study.
(1) Fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.
(1B) No acknowledgement is required in connection with fair dealing for the purposes mentioned in subsection (1) where this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise.
(1C) Fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of private study does not infringe any copyright in the work.
(2) Fair dealing with the typographical arrangement of a published edition for the purposes [F4of research or private study] does not infringe any copyright in the arrangement.
(3) Copying by a person other than the researcher or student himself is not fair dealing if—
  • (a) in the case of a librarian, or a person acting on behalf of a librarian, he does anything which regulations under section 40 would not permit to be done under section 38 or 39 (articles or parts of published works: restriction on multiple copies of same material), or
    (b) in any other case, the person doing the copying knows or has reason to believe that it will result in copies of substantially the same material being provided to more than one person at substantially the same time and for substantially the same purpose.
(4) It is not fair dealing—
  • (a) to convert a computer program expressed in a low level language into a version expressed in a higher level language, or
    (b) incidentally in the course of so converting the program, to copy it,
(these acts being permitted if done in accordance with section 50B (decompilation)).
(4A) It is not fair dealing to observe, study or test the functioning of a computer program in order to determine the ideas and principles which underlie any element of the program (these acts being permitted if done in accordance with section 50BA (observing, studying and testing)).
So as long as you make sure the mock up you create is never used for a commercial purpose, then you should be OK.
For an example of when something similar went wrong for Sony, see this story: Art&Artifice
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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