View Full Version : Image ownership question

08-18-2006, 10:27 AM
How to put this in as few words as possible... I have a cd collection of clip art that I bought several years back for graphic freelance work I do. In it are a cd or two of photographic images in various categories. Landscapes, citycapes, floral, different countries, etc. Anyhow, I thought this would be a great place for reference images. I didn't take the photos, however, I did purchase them, they are royalty free and technically now owned by me to use as often as I want, however I want. Where does that leave me as far as painting an image for sale show or contest? I'm a stickler for rules when it comes to this kind of thing and didn't want to step out of line should I chose to use some of these for painting reference.


08-18-2006, 11:04 AM
My understanding of it is that you can do what you want now. If they are yours, they're yours. Save you documentation or consult an atty.

08-18-2006, 11:19 AM
There really is no documentation. I've had it so long I don't even have the receipt anymore. It's just a box of cds you can buy at Staples, Office Depot, or any store that sells computer stuff, etc. Called "Art Explosion 50,000" (for the 50K plus images in clip art and photos - some are bigger or small so the number can change on the collection name). I have these and probably hundreds of thousands of other folks own them too. Especially a lot of advertising agencies or freelance designers. Any place that has an art/graphics department.

08-18-2006, 01:13 PM
I know little of competitions and the ins and outs of sales, but I've read that paintings using an image not one's own are frowned upon in many competitions, and I believe I may have read that they are disallowed in some. A painting for sale may be a different thing, but I don't know that for sure. The issue of copyright, which means the creator of the images has given you the legal right to use the images, is a somewhat different issue. Those running competitions may be wary of getting entangled in copyright issues, and so that may be why the use of canned images is frowned upon. By disallowing such images, the problem is avoided.

The legal forum, I believe, may have additional information regarding this. My apologies for being unable to provide a link with any details, but I don't recall now where I read about these issues; it may have been in one of the art magazines.

Here's a link to the Legal Forum though: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=79
Perhaps you could ask your question there. Although I think they focus primarily on copyright issues there, they may be able to point you to additional information regarding the use of such images for competions and for sale work.

...and chances are, another poster with additional knowledge will come upon this thread and be able to provide you with more info.

08-18-2006, 04:06 PM

What I'm going to say is just based upon what I've read and onmy personal understanding of that.
About contests, most of the times the jurors will prefer that the work was conceived by the artist.
An image may be royalty free, but the copyright will begin to the conceiver.
Now, since you don't have to pay royalties, you'll be abble (I think) to make profit out of them. What you cannot do is to proclaim authorship, of course.
Some time ago I've posted a link about copyright issues at the Business or Legal forum - can't remember which one.

Kind regards,


08-18-2006, 09:14 PM
Thanks everyone. Those were the answers I wanted to know. If I want to enter a contest or a show I will be sure to use only photos I have taken for reference or any still life I set up myself, etc. I knew you couldn't use stuff you did in a class. I just thought the canned stuff would make great practice and if someone wanted to purchase it make sure it was ok.