cAN i USE THIS PICTURE BY ADDING SOMETHING TO IT

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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collinsoneric
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cAN i USE THIS PICTURE BY ADDING SOMETHING TO IT

Post by collinsoneric » Wed May 20, 2009 4:29 pm

A PICTURE OF A TOP CELEB WAS SENT TO ME BY E-MAIL, IT HAD BEEN ON A MASSIVE E-MAIL JOURNEY. tHE PICTURE IS IDENTICAL TO THE ONE THAT APPEARED IN ALL THE NATIONAL PRESS. AND NO DOUBT ALSO TAKEN BY MANY THOUSANDS OF MOBILE PHONES. IT LOOKS TO ME AS THOUGH FINDING THE COPYRIGHT OWNER WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE, AND ANYONE CLAIMING COPYRIGHT WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT BE ABLE TO PROVE IT. i WOULD LIKE TO USE THE PICTURE IN A CREATIVE ART PROJECT TO BE USED FOR PROFIT. i AGREE THE PHOTOGRAPHER IS ENTITLED TO A Fee BUT FINDING THAT PERSON LOOKS IMPOSSIBLE, AND ALSO IMPOSSIBLE FOR THAT PERSON TO PROVE HIS COPYRIGHT. help, CAN I GO FORWARD WITH MY PROJECT??

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Wed May 20, 2009 6:33 pm

Firstly, I am struggling with your statement that anyone claiming copyright could not prove it – I can't see what grounds you have for this – I expect they probably could.
In an case, copyright is normally civil not criminal law, they don't have to prove beyond reasonable doubt, they only have to demonstrate that the probability is that you copied their work.

Secondly, as you state that the picture is 'identical' to the one that appeared in the national press – I would suggest that is IS the one that appeared in the press and that you trace the copyright owner via the newspaper the published it. At least if you get permission that way there will be no comeback and you can probably get hold of a better quality copy of the image too.

If you do not obtain permission you have to accept the risk that if the copyright owner does turn up they may take action to defend their work. It is not simply that they may require paying, if they did not give permission for you to use the work, they can also require that you remove all copies of their work..

The fact that it has been emailed around the planet is an irrelevance. They may have even consented to this (there are such things as not for profit licenses - see creative commons for examples), but if not, it's certainly not worth the effort of pursuing the emailers as there is no financial gain. In your case, you will be making a profit from their work so it IS worth taking action against you as there is a good chance of claiming financial damages.

I find it helps to remind ourselves that copyright is property – put it in than context and it becomes clearer. Is it OK to use a car you found parked in the street just because you don't know who it belongs to?

It may be that the copyright owner won't discover your use, or if they do, they won't mind – the point is that without asking them you don't know. I hope you will appreciate that I have to err on the side of caution, I certainly cannot recommend that you do something illegal.

Lastly. PLEASE write normally. Using capitals all the time is bad etiquette - it is the written equivalent of shouting.

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