Is it legal to use google images?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Is it legal to use google images?

Post by mrgatsby »

Hi Andy!....or whoever is about to answer this question! I really appreciate it, it's so great to have people like you not only accessible but also willing to help us random strangers online. Your work and help is really appreciated by all and I'd donate to you if 1. I had money and 2. If you had a donate page.

Anyway, I own an instagram account that creates motivational picture quotes. For example, I take (search google images for) a picture of some woman from a movie and then I either come up with a quote or search a quote on google e.g. "Les Brown quotes" and I type (using a font I downlaoded from or it on to the picture to produce the following image which I print as a poster to sell:

My questions are this:

1) Is it legal to do this?

2) If not, assuming the images I use are the problem, how do you suggest I bypass this? Like, can I find a really good artist to recreate their version of the images I find on google and then use them legally?

3) Are there any further precautions/suggestions you think I should take?

I actually haven't started selling anything yet btw. Would really appreciate your advice, thank you :)
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi mrgatsby.

As you say, using someone else's images (which includes stills from films*) is a problem because using them without permission or without a valid exception under the fair dealing rules, amounts to infringement unless you are very sure that the image has been released under a Creative Commons licence. And of course many CC licences have either or both an attribution and a non-commercial use tag so care is needed even with them.

As for how to 'bypass' copyright, it strikes me that getting an artist to re-draw the photograph would be both a costly and a not-entirely safe method. Under UK copyright law (section 17 (2) CDPA):
(2) Copying in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work means reproducing the work in any material form.
Therefore the artist would need to ensure they didn't copy the photograph in a facsimile way, so frankly it would be much easier to say to him or her, "just draw me a dancer doing a jeté " if that is what you wanted to use for your inspirational quote.

* s 17 (4): "(4) Copying in relation to a film or broadcast includes making a photograph of the whole or any substantial part of any image forming part of the film or broadcast".
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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