Image/name advice

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
Post Reply
tomojo92
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:47 pm

Image/name advice

Post by tomojo92 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:58 pm

Hi,

I apologies in advance if this has been covered or spoken about in previous topics but I'm never quite sure if these are unique cases etc.

My basic query is this: A friend and I founded an increasingly popular facebook page of folding images and pictures. Due to the increase in popularity we would like to start producing and selling some merchandise such as coffee mugs and coasters using the images folded.

Now, we're aware that we could only use our own personal folds or get permission from other folders to use their images. However, what we don't know is whether we are able to sell merchandise (due to the images all being of the same person) as they may infringe copyright in some way!? For instance, we make a fold, and name it. These names occasionally have the name of the folded person in them but not always, but they are integral to the concept and would be used on the merchandise alongside the image.

Is there anything here we need to be wary of and would we need permission to do this?

Any help or advice on this matter would be massively appreciated!

Many Thanks,

tomojo92

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1733
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:26 pm

Hi tomojo,
I'm not sure I entirely follow what you are asking about. I think I understand the folding image concept, but I'm not sure how the image of a particular person comes into it. So long as you either took the photograph or have permission to use it from the actual owner (the photographer), then the subject (ie the person in the photograph) does not have any additional rights, and certainly no copyright for you to worry about.
However, if I have completely misunderstood, please let me know.
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

tomojo92
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:47 pm

Post by tomojo92 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:35 am

Hi Andy,

Thank you for the reply. Sorry, I was in a bit of a rush and wasn't particularly clear.

Essentially, we take the original image from google images etc, then that is printed and folded, then a photo is taken of the new image and uploaded.

We were just worried that further down the line we'd get an email or something saying we didn't have permission by the person to use them or something?

Again, thank you kindly!

Tomojo92

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1733
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:31 am

Hi tomojo,
I'm sure you realise that Google images is not a legitimate source of rights-free images. You may download and use such images for the purposes of research or private study, but that does not allow you to issue copies to the public or commercially exploit the images you have found in this way without permission from the copyright owners. I suspect that your Facebook acitivity may already be infringing copyright and is certainly in breach of Facebook's terms of service.
Of course what I can't say is whether the owners of the copyright would actually care about this. Much will probably depend on how personal the images might be, for instance do they feature recognisable individuals or are they general scenes?
My advice would be to source your images from reputable image libraries such as iStock, Getty or Shutterstock, and you can then be confident that your business will be 100% legitimate. If this is too costly for you in the early stages, try and find some images which have Creative Commons licences that permit commercial use. These are not that abundant because most people who want to freely share their work resent it when others make money from it.
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

tomojo92
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:47 pm

Post by tomojo92 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:38 am

I did, but wasn't sure if altering the images I.e it not being the original image, would make a difference. It could well be but the page has been active for a number of years (been used on national TV) and the individual who is the subject of the folded images is aware and has not stated any issue with them.

So we should really look at getting permission from the original image owners before going any further?

Thanks again!

Tomojo92

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1733
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:12 pm

Hi Tomojo,
So if I understand you correctly, you have sourced your image(s) from a stock library or similar and you are confident that you have an appropriate licence to use the image(s). If that is so and you are just concerned about whether the actual personality featured in the image can object, then I think I can put your mind at rest. We do not have here in the UK a Publicity Right which allows a celebrity or even a private person to object to the use of their likeness. The nearest to thing to a law of privacy exists in three distinct areas:
a. if the use is so derogatory as to amount to defamation, or
b. it somehow stongly implies endorsement of your product by that personality (this could lead to a claim of passing off), or
c. the complaint is that the person's private and family life had somehow been invaded by the image; in such a case they would first need to take up the matter with photographer, rather than you.

In all three instances, the stock agency should hold the necessary releases or permissions so as to indemnify you against a claim from a third party.
As for modifying the image and whether this would require permission, much depends on how the modifications have been done and what, if anything, the licence says about alterations/modifications. Generally speaking, making an adaptation of a work is a right reserved to the copyright holder, but section 21 specifically excludes artistic works (which includes photographs) from this protection, so artists and photographer etc have to rely on the moral right of integrity, which says their work should not be subjected to derogatory treatment (see s 80, specifically sub section (4)). This is actually quite a high hurdle because the alteration has to be shown to have somehow prejudiced the honour or reputation of the author. However if you feel there may be grounds for the photographer to be upset by the changes you have made, it would be sensible to seek his/her blessing for what you want to do.
Last edited by AndyJ on Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

tomojo92
New Member
New  Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:47 pm

Post by tomojo92 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:17 pm

Hi Andy,

You are right in saying that we were most concerned about the personality objecting. As I said, he is aware of them being used on blogging sites and facebook already.

Really appreciate your advice, it's cleared a lot of things up so thank you for that.

Regards,

Tomojo92

Post Reply