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Post Info TOPIC: legal problems about copyright?


Lieutenant-Colonel

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legal problems about copyright?
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Hi there,


Ive been thinking of hanging some old pictures taken in the WWI era in my own website (www.diorama1914.com ). Those pics have been downloaded from other sites and also scanned from books of my private collection. I have observed that this is frequently done in many websites. If I also do that, am I breaking any law about copyright, even if my website is not commercial?. Would I have any legal problem?


Can you give me any help?


 



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Legend

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As far as I know, strictly speaking, yes, it is violation of copyright to post an image scanned from a book or taken from another website (which itself has probably scanned it from a book!) without the author's/copyright holder's permission. And as copyright covers everything printed for such long periods of time, that would preclude the posting of pretty much any image. Books being in one's private collection does not make them public resources, unless they're very old and the copyright has expired (not the case for probably 70% of the material posted here). About the only images one could post legally would be family photos, photos one's taken oneself (such as museum exhibits), etc. Some websites, in fact, are quite picky about images being posted, for those very reasons.


However, as is immediately noticeable, virtually everyone does it, and so many of the images posted are in such niche interests that it would be (a) impossible, and (b) unprofitable for copyright holders to make an issue of it. That is why just about the only time one ever hears of a website being leaned on about unauthorised use of images, it's invariably a big studio getting the hump about a fan using images from their film/TV show/album etc.



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Legend

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There may also be a loophole in that extracts used for research and review are (I believe) exempt (so for example students can repeat short pasage in papers, thesis etc). Copyright is in reality about not reprinting for profit (or in such a way as to stop the author/owner from profiting). However one is not sure how this might apply to a discussion forum.

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Legend

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There is that loophole, but I suspect that it doesn't apply to the internet because whereas a student can reproduce short extracts for private use in a thesis or essay or whatever, they aren't publishing for public use. The internet is public. If I scan an image from a book and email it to you in private, that's probably permissible as private research/study. But if I post the image on a website where anyone can see it, download it, etc., that is almost certainly a violation of copyright, whether or not I have made a profit, because I have published the image. Big difference. Those websites one occasionally sees closed down after studio pressure are invariably fansites from which their creators derive no profit, yet they're still technically breaking the law.


Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with posting images (they're very frequently from out of print books anyway), etc. etc. But technically most posting of images is violation of copyright, and if (a big if) someone took exception to you posting, say, images from a book, I very much suspect that any lawyer could haul you over the coals for it. In practical terms, however, the question is academic, for the reasons I gave before, and so not worth losing a second of sleep over. Everyone on the net does it, and it's very unlikely that anyone will care about a modelmaking website. And if you post an image from someone else's webite and they object to it, ask them whether they got permission from the copyright holder to post it on their site in the first place - the chances are that, like 99% of the web's content, they didn't.



-- Edited by Roger Todd at 15:53, 2006-01-28

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Legend

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Having had a quick browse on the internet, here are a couple of useful pages:


http://www.glamourmodels.com/resources/articles/070903.html


http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html


With due acknowledgement to attorney David Amkraut, who wrote the first source:


"My [website use, posting, whatever] is 'Fair Use' so I haven't violated copyright".

"Fair use" is a legal "defense" to copyright. It was created to allow use of copyright material for socially valuable purposes such as commentary, parody, news reporting, education and the like, without permission of the copyright holder. A typical instance would be a brief quotation from a book as part of a book review. Uses allowed by "Fair Use" are normally a small part of a work and include an author credit and attribution. Fair uses are generally for non-profit purposes.

Fair use is rarely allowed where the use competes directly with the work or harms its commercial value.

Most fair use situations involve text. It is difficult to imagine any situation involving the Internet where someone copying a photo could claim the fair use defense. In typical infringement activities, such as unauthorized posting to Usenet, stocking websites from Usenet trolling, scanning from Playboy magazine, or simply copying from other websites-the fair use doctrine does not apply. Because the pirate is taking 100% of the work, not acknowledging the creator, hurting the work's market value, competing directly with the creator or licensed users of the work, and for other reasons.

So if you are a photo pirate, do not even think about the fair use doctrine. In your context it is a myth. Your lawyer will laugh at you, and the judge might not have a sense of humor where thievery is concerned.


'Fair use', which is essentially what Centurion was describing vis-a-vis study and research, almost certainly would not cover the kinds of postings we make to this forum or the main site (and ditto for most hobby/interest sites). If I scan and post an image from a book as part of an article, I have violated the copyright unless I have sought and obtained prior written permission to use it for that purpose, because I have published it, it's as simple as that.


Centurion was partly right when he wrote that copyright is about preventing competition with the copyright holder's profits, but only partly right - copyright is also about the holder's right to control how their work is used. By definition, I have attempted to repudiate their control if I have used elements of their work without their permission.



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Hero

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Ok


  I have been pursuing this exact question for a while, I have spoken to a friend of mine, who is a lawyer. And he is very up to date on the copyright law. And I quote: Any picture over 100 years old with out a copyright symbol or owners name,mark,etc., is not holding: i.e.coyright law. if it is on a web site and the owner hold the copyright, he must show proof of his ownership.i.e. symbol,name,mark, etc., From a book is a different story, if the author of the book holds all copyright to his words and photos, then of course it is supposedly illegal to use those pictures, but, most authors use pictures from other people's collections. there for he does not own copyright to those photos. old books mostly do not show ownership, but newer ones do, i.e,copyright By War Museum, etc., Roger is correct, most people will not pursue the issue of ownership, becouse of the hassle and the cost involved. besides most web site owners do not hold copyright no matter what the say.


This is of course my take on the subject, as long as you are not publishing them to make  money on them, WHATS THE PROBLEM????


All the Best


Tim R



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Sergeant

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My (unprofessional) undestanding is that if the original source was a government document to begin with (EX: US Navy photos) they are in public domain, and their presence in a book doesn't alter that. The book author can't copyright them.

steve

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steve fildes


Corporal

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I think we are talking about two different things here. One, the full legal implication of the Copyright Laws, which means, if you want to be 100% safe, you can only post things that you have taken yourself, really.


The other thing is really about getting caught...


I think that if you infringe on others copyright, and it will hurt them in any way, not least economically, you are A.) doing something not just strictly legally wrong but also morally wrong, and B.) there is an incentive to hunt it down and correct it. If we consider the BILLIONS of web pages running, the possibility of monitoring them in order to go after petty copyright infringements is practically zero. If you copy material from someone that will get hurt over it, then the risk of getting caught increases dramatically, and **rightly so**.


I myself do not copy computer games or DVD's and I don't think that I ever will. That kind of copying means that you are taking away someones livelyhood. Copying a photo, taken ninety years ago, from an old, out of print book, well, I can't for the life of me see who is getting hurt? That is part of our history and in a way it belongs to us all. And posting it also makes that tiny fragment of our common heritage accessible to us all.


Just my two cents...



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- Ron T


Field Marshal

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The photo material on this site comes from different sources. Most photos of surviving equipment I have taken myself, or they have been taken by people who have sent them to me. It also contains a lot of photos from the Internet, from old books and magazines, scans that other people have sent me, plus photos from my own collection.


Over the four years this site have been running, I have been approached once, and that was over a photo that someone sent me, that I didn't know originated from another WW1 site - I checked, at it was true. I immediately removed it, with apologies. I have had a fair number of question from people that want to use material, and I always say YES, just asking them to give credit.


I think that Ron is right: the base rule is that you shouldn't hurt anyone financially! Also, when it is fair to assume that the photos have been taken by people that are alive today, especially by professionals with a professional intent, then one should really stay clear. They are living off their work, and therefore need to control it. And I don't think that anyone can argue with that.


All the best


 



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/Peter Kempf


Legend

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One simple precaution I try and follow is that if the picture is already available on the internet I usually just post the link to where it is already displayed

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Lieutenant

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Another wise precaution is to always disclose the source (book, magazine) when posting images. Giving due credit to the copyrightholders already defuses any potential conflict and will satisfy many, even if they find out you used their material. Apart from being a normal curtisy it also shows you're not out to get acclaim for things that are in fact not yours. In fact, pointing out the book or magazine it came from to others is a form of free publicity, and I still have to find the first author or publisher who will turn that down!


Mario



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Legend

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It may be an idea for contributors of photos from other sources to go back to the articles they appear in and list the sources to be quoted at the end of each article. It would be a pain for Peter, as he'd have to make the changes, but it could be spread out over a period of time.

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