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The low-down on image use. What is acceptable and what is not? Answered

So, can you use an image from the internet if it is not your own if you site the source appropriately? And the source does not give any copyright of the image on the page either?

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bridge47

7 years ago

How about this: I print an image from the internet, use it in a craft and post it on this website. Of course everyone would say that is fine, but why? When it comes out of the printer some how I have obtained the rights to use it?

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orksecurity

7 years ago

If you don't own it, and you do not KNOW that it has been explicitly placed in the public domain, and there is no Creative Commons or other statement from whomever created the image... you can not legally republish it. Period.

The fact that someone else swiped it first would not protect you. Getting explicitly permission from someone who claims to own it -- and who could credibly own it -- might provide _SOME_ protection, but only in that you could turn around and try to sue them for your losses.

A common cheat is to refer to the image by URI where it currently lives rather than copying it onto your own server. It isn't at all clear that this provides any real protection.


Can you get away with violating copyright? Maybe, but it's entirely at your own risk. Dirty Harry's quote applies here. "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"


The safe solution is to either use images you already have the rights to, or buy rights to images, or go looking for images which are either clearly out of copyright (not always clear from the image itself!) or which have explicitly been made available for reuse through Creative Commons. In that last case I would ask permission anyway, mostly because most artists/photographers really appreciate knowing that someone liked their image enough to want to reuse it.

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orksecurityorksecurity

Answer 7 years ago

Quick reminder: Under current law, things covered by copyright are automatically copyrighted from the moment they are created. Registering a copyright is good practice if you intend to publish since it makes proving ownership easier and thus makes enforcing copyright easier -- but the absence of an explicit copyright statement or symbol is not sufficient to mean that the image can be safely reused.

And an additional caveat: All my statements are based on my own best understanding of US copyright law. I Am Not A Lawyer; I'm just someone who has had reason to investigate some of this in the past. There's a pretty good layman's description of copyright on the Library Of Congress's website, if I remember correctly... but again, that's going to be based on US law, and some of the rules may differ elsewhere, though there was an attempt to reconcile copyright law internationally a decade or two ago.

(Patent law is more likely to differ from country to country, I believe. But I know even less about that, despite having written a few.)

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bridge47

7 years ago

I found a GREAT list from wikipedia of public domain image resources. Woo hoo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources

I mean, sometimes you just can't take a picture yourself. You just can't. I moved to a new area, no friends (really) and all images I have of myself for my instructable are from my Mac Photobooth. I would hit the button, run fast and go pose.

So if you use public domain images and have the credit to use them, you are fine?

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orksecuritybridge47

Answer 7 years ago

If they really are public domain, then you don't even have to credit them (though it's courteous to do so).

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bridge47

7 years ago

Of course, if I was making an item I would photograph making the item. But that isn't always the case.

What about a more general self-help type guide? Or someone made an instructable about stretching and used images of anatomy drawings. Should they have broken into a cadaver lab and photographed the muscles themselves?

Or if I wanted to make an instructable about depression. Do I post images of myself looking sad? Or could I use, much better, stock imaged? Could I not use images that demonstrate the biochemistry of depression?

My point is, can you NEVER post an image that is not your own, even with sourcing where it came from?

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orksecuritybridge47

Answer 7 years ago

For exercise: I'd suggest that if you can't find an image posted with explicit reuse permission, you take something and redraw it as a sketch. The sketch may or may not be a "derivative work" -- which is another kettle of worms -- but it will at least clearly be your own rather than outright theft of intellectual property.

If you need to use stock images other than those which are explicitly approved for reuse: There are agencies which sell stock images and "clip art". If it's important enough to you to use something better, it's worth paying; if it isn't worth paying, it isn't important enough. Or, as I suggested above, start with something you like and redraw something inspired by it.

Yes, I'm afraid that the correct answer is that you can NEVER post without permission. Citing the source just demonstrates that you know where you should have started in trying to get permission... assuming that said source has the ability to grant rights itself; they may not own it either.

Can you get away with breaking that rule? MAYBE. But I would strongly recommend you avoid doing so at all possible even on a website you control... and I would even more strongly recommend that when posting to Instructables, since you could put the whole site at risk if someone wanted to throw lawyers at it.

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Kitemanbridge47

Answer 7 years ago

Oh, I get you.

Best practice is to use photos that are "public domain", such as Wikimedia Commons, and then credit the source.

Whatever the source of an image, always credit it (typically in an image note).




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rickharris

7 years ago

I guess (think) essentially that this is a site that is about YOU telling US about what yo have done and showing US how WE can do the same - That said, first person photographs would seem to be the essence of the task.

That said I didn't use a Rabbit photograph I took because it was a generic photo and not essential or relevant to the building of the rabbit trap.

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Kiteman

7 years ago

Why can't you use your own images?

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lemonie

7 years ago


You're supposed to take photographs of your stuff, simple as that.

L