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  • Out of copyright Images and permissions

    Can anyone tell me how people can put images on their sites that you have to have permission to use. I am referring to some of the Victorian and vintage images that I use. I was told that if the copyrights expire after 80 years and are not renewed then the images are free to use by anyone so what criteria then do these sites, CD's etc fulfil to make the images exclusive to them? I bet they don't renew the copyrights. Or do they alter the images then copyright them? The original images may be found in antique shops etc so available to anyone who cares to dig them out so why do these images need permission. If I used a Victorian image how could someone say it was theirs and not one from somewhere else?? How could I make an image of about 100 years old or whatever mine?

    Many thanks..Dave.

  • #2
    When things are 'out of copyright' they are often referred to as being 'in the public domain'.

    You can use an image which is in the public domain as and when you like, but you can't 'make it yours' because you cannot ever own it, nor any rights to it.


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    • #3
      A alternative is to use 'royalty free' images. These still have copyright attached to them (so you can't sell them on) but you can use them free of charge.

      There are several such collections; Serif offers various collections.

      It might also be worth taking a look on Flickr as many users offer a 'creative commons' license. I'm still too new here to be able to post links, but if you search google for "creative commons images" you can find out more about it.

      Good Luck,

      Lenny
      ~~The old ways are the future~~

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lenny View Post
        A alternative is to use 'royalty free' images. These still have copyright attached to them (so you can't sell them on) but you can use them free of charge.

        There are several such collections; Serif offers various collections.

        It might also be worth taking a look on Flickr as many users offer a 'creative commons' license. I'm still too new here to be able to post links, but if you search google for "creative commons images" you can find out more about it.

        Good Luck,

        Lenny
        I think this may be what I have just purchased. I have purchased some backgrounds for a website and can use them myself for the business but can't sell them on. Other people can still buy the same images to use too. Is this what you have just described?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Craftychez View Post
          I think this may be what I have just purchased. I have purchased some backgrounds for a website and can use them myself for the business but can't sell them on. Other people can still buy the same images to use too. Is this what you have just described?
          Quite possibly. Serif, for instance, offer collections of photos that are royalty free. However, these photo collections are not the same as creative commons.
          ~~The old ways are the future~~

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          • #6
            The creative commons is still rather complicated form the search information I have read... and it seems many of the CC images are restricted to non commercial use.

            It is important to realise that many of the websites that offer free images actually may/do not own the rights to those images and therefore may/do not have the right to offer them at all. I have known several people who fell foul of this... it is a minefield and should an image owner decide to seek legal redress, ignorance (of the law as it applies in the situation) is not considered a valid defence.

            Using free images for personal use should be okay, but for commercial usage it is always best to double check and get permissions as required.

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            • #7
              The complication is that the victorian original may indeed be out of copyright, but the photograph of the victorian original has its own copyright.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pearlescence View Post
                The complication is that the victorian original may indeed be out of copyright, but the photograph of the victorian original has its own copyright.
                So what you are saying, correct me if I am wrong, is that if I had an original card, you could use it free of charge, but if I put the image on my computer or otherwise digitally reproduced the image of the card then I would have the copyright of the copied image, then as "the copier" be entitled to charge you or refuse to allow you to use my copy of the card?

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                • #9
                  Copyright always stays with the maker of the art, whatever that is. If you have an original victorian image and you scan it and use it on a website the copyright does not transfer to you and you cannot charge for the use of that image. There are books with compilations of images 'copyright' free but are then copyrighted by way of the book! This does not mean you cannot use the images, just that you can't charge for the use of them.

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                  • #10
                    The basic is that copyright is the right to permit copies of a work to be made. So it can be a valuable thing. Copyright lasts for a certain number of years depending on what the item is (Cliff Richard is now campaigning for an extension from 50 to 70 years for the C on his early work as it is about to go out of C and he will get nothing for it being played on the radio or put onto cds.
                    But if it were put onto to a cd then the form of that would be copyrighted to the producer of the cd.
                    One piece of work can have layers of C and licences and so on - it can get very very complicated.

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                    • #11
                      Dave if you truly want to make an image yours, draw or paint it yourself - that way the resultant work belongs to you....or if that is not a possibility, perhaps considering paying for rights to use images you need and avoid any possible problems that way.

                      You know what they say about there being no such thing as a free.....

                      There are a lot of vintage images out there and something that appears Vintage may not be as old as you might think...... some were created in the past few months by artists/crafts people into the current trends/demands for vintage themes.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for that Christa, I am actually looking into producing my own images, just wanted a little clarification here & there.

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                        • #13
                          Check out Berne Convention at Wikipedia (sorry I'm not currently allowed to post URL's). From memory this says that copyright can be had if substantial changes are made i.e. reformatting hardcopy to digital or substantial editing but there is no definition of "substantial" so you'll need to satisfy yourself that the editing is substantial enough to keep you out of choppy waters. Either that or liaise with the copyright holder and ensure that they are happy. A rule of thumb I would be happy with is that if you own the original (glass slide or whatever for Victorian) then you own the rights for reproduction. Only in cases where a sale has been made whilst expressly preserving the rights separately would this not hold - or be capable of evidencing in court should that ever (rarely) arise.

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                          • #14
                            The law in the UK in this matter is in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts - which domesticate the Convention provisions but in English law they are the substantive law so there is little point in studying the convention. In a court case the Judge won't, He or she will look at the Parliamentary measure.
                            There is, apparently a litigational rumble going on with the person who owns the origninal 'Keep Calm and Carry on' poster
                            However, the reality is that all these intellectual properties are there in theory but in practice are pretty much impossible to protect. It will cost you £ms (think something as obvious as teh Dyson vacuuming innovations which were copies by many other manufacturers, it cost Dyson years and millions to enforce his patents - and that was patents.
                            The reality is that you can huff and puff about design rights, copyright etc but it isn't enforceable (and the person who taught me intellectual property wrote the leading tectbook on the subject - about 10cm thick.

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                            • #15
                              acknowledged - and Apple / Samsung - copyright acknowledged but continued sales not prevented. Copyright is a civil and not criminal matter.

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