View Full Version : Collage - a copyright question?
I am considering doing a collage that will involve using newspaper cuttings, photos and words. Will I have a problem with copyright? these have been used in every newspaper in our country and several mags - same photo, different words.
If the photo is questionable, can I do a drawing of it and use that?
Thanks for your help.
If this collage (materials)/montage (images) is for practice and fun, then have at. If however, it could end up being for sale, then you must get approval from the originator of the image, and probably the publications. It would be a copyright violation, and you could be sued. If you don't believe it, just ask Robert Rauschenberg, who is noted for this type of work and got hit big time. BTW don't believe the 'if I modify it enough' claim; it's bogus. So long as the source image is identifiable, you are liable. The best policy is to not use others' images without their written permission.
06-20-2001, 04:37 PM
Seems that the copyright issue is a hot topic these days. I have tried to post this image for days in several different threads and something has happened every time.
When I was in Illustration I the instructor, a professional illustrator, tried to give us guidelines for using reference pictures. Illustrators are often asked to do assignments where getting their own photo references is impossible. So this issue becomes essential to get nailed down for them. Here is an example of an illustrator using a photo reference from one of those parenting magazines to do an illustration for an article in another. This should give you a feel for the minimum amount of change necessary. Just remember, courts decide, not illustrators. And your much more likely to be sued if you are using images that are licenced or that come from main line entertainment/media sources. Just use good common sense and ere on the part of caution!
This CAN'T be a real example!? It's so obvious the only change is in use of media. This is such a blatent copyright infringement that the judge would be laughing. I certainly hope LuLu doesn't take this as license to steal another's image.
06-20-2001, 11:44 PM
Remember that this is an example of MINIMUM amount of change - please don't mistake it for a standard. Since some of the changes are harder to see because the reference pic is small - the biggest change I see is in the expression of both father and child. In the reference the baby is crying and the father is visibly distressed. In the illustration both are happy. Other changes are more cosmetic - a change of jawline, hair on baby, background, etc.
Illustrators/fine artists now have a great reference stock tools in print and on the internet (extensive libraries of stock photos ($) and even copyright free libraries). Wouldn't it be great to have a more clear-cut definition of infringement. Until we get one, play it as safe as possible. Don't get any closer to your reference than this example and don't see this as a measure cast in stone. Remember what I had said earlier - courts decide not illustrators.
TPS and TMoore, thank you so much for the trouble you have taken to reply to my thread. I really appreciate your input.
I think I will err on the side of caution, don't want to end up in court.:crying:
06-29-2001, 11:43 PM
I finally found where I had read something about this Lulu. It was in April 2000 Artist's magazine.
The First Sale Doctrine under Section 109 of the Copyright Act allows the buyer of copyrighted work to either sell or dispose of the purchased work. It goes on to say you may create one of a kind photo montages for resale. Selling reproductions of what you created would be copyright infringement.
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