I answered a question about copyrights.
Of course, I was talking mostly about text, but I got a couple of questions about copyrights and the visual art found on the web that leads me to add some things about photos and other visual arts.
First of all, ideas can’t be copyrighted. So if you take a picture of say, La Jolla Cove, unless you give me permission I can’t use your picture. But I can take my own picture of the cove from the same spot because the idea of the Cove can’t be protected.
The same thing is true of a drawing you make, a painting, etc. Just because it’s on the web doesn’t mean you are free to copy it for your website. The artist holds a copyright on it, even if they didn’t file for official protection.
Think about it…
A painting or photo takes as much creativity as a story or article does – in some cases much more. When you use someone’s work without permission you’re stealing it, no matter what media its in.
Now, most of the photos I use here are from a site called Stock.Xchange. That site allows artists to upload their work and choose the kind of license they will accept. Many of them require no more than the credit you see at the bottom of most of my posts. Some require the name of the artist be spelled out and some cost money. When I use photos from there I have permission because that’s how the site is set up.
When you go to Flickr.com, you don’t have permission to use anything there. Some of the photos have a Creative Commons Licence; most do not. Unless the license is spelled out and you conform to those requirements you can assume you’re not allowed to use the photos on your site or elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that if I had taken a picture of the Cove at La Jolla I could use it here. I could use it even if it looked a whole lot like the one I linked to above. The idea of taking a picture of the Cove can’t be protected, just the image the artist generates.
What other questions about copyright do you have? (Always remembering I’m grateful not to be a lawyer.)
Image from http://www.sxc.hu