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  1. #1
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    Photos/Graphic Copyright Help

    If you take a picture of the Mona Lisa with your own camera. Can you use it as one of your main website images?

    I used the Mona Lisa as an example, but that's the kind of thing I'm unsure of.

    I have a small sculpture that's quite popular... I'd like to use part of it for my logo but think it's not legal to do so.

    So I want to confirm. It may be obvious but I'm unsure so I'll ask anyway...

  2. #2
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    A good reference, since 180+ countries are WIPO members and have similar copyright laws:

    WIPO: Legal Pitfalls in Taking or Using Photographs of Copyright Material, Trademarks and People

    It boils down to, if the work you're taking a picture of is protected by copyright, and you're using a substantial portion of it, and placing it on public display (on a website), you probably need permission.

  3. #3
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    great reference, thx.

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    SitePoint Evangelist mrandrei's Avatar
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    You can edit a photo in such a way that it doesn't look like the original copy. Photoshop can do wonders. hehe. Seriously, different countries have different copyright laws. Where are you from?

  5. #5
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    Usa

  6. #6
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrandrei View Post
    You can edit a photo in such a way that it doesn't look like the original copy.
    While using a portion of the image could be seen as fair use, it would have to be pretty much indistinguishable from the origional for you to claim that it is exempt from copyright (under the terms of being misconstrued as the origional work or a derivitive of it). I would not say the Mona Lisa qualifies under copyright, after all it's been a long time since the origional author / painter died therefore copyright claim probably has expired, unless of course someone kept it going.

  7. #7
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    While using a portion of the image could be seen as fair use
    I doubt any kind of fair use argument would work when talking about using the work in a website logo. Not educational, critical or parody, and likely a commercial use. It wouldn't pass the test.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex5711Dawson View Post
    it would have to be pretty much indistinguishable from the origional for you to claim that it is exempt from copyright (under the terms of being misconstrued as the origional work or a derivitive of it).
    I don't follow this at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex5711Dawson View Post
    I would not say the Mona Lisa qualifies under copyright, after all it's been a long time since the origional author / painter died therefore copyright claim probably has expired, unless of course someone kept it going.
    There's no way to keep a copyright going -- when it expires, it expires. Unless you're Disney and can convince world governments to increase the number of years copyright lasts every time yours is about to expire.

    Copyright didn't exist at the time the Mona Lisa was painted, so it was never protected in the first place. The painting is in the public domain.

    But if someone creates their own version of the Mona Lisa painting based on the original, their work is now protected by copyright. You couldn't take a copy of that and use it on your website, even though it was based on something in the public domain.

    matius's situation is pretty straightforward -- find out how old the statue is and who sculpted it, use that to determine whether it's protected by copyright, and if so, get permission before using a photo of it in a website logo.


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