Copyright and what does it mean?

Barb noticed that the picture I used about Ticks was copyrighted and had the author's seal and name on it. It was my impression that as long as I didn't use it for commercial purposes of make any money off of it and it was properly attributed to the author, it was fair game use as a part of a blog post. I'm off to do some research so there will be an update:........

From Cornell University's online publication of the Public Law.

TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 1 > § 107

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Now I am just confused. IF the author published the picture as an employee of a Government agency, it can be reproduced. If the photo uses the copyright seal and it is properly identified and not used for profit, is it fair use? I am pretty sure that my use did not substantially diminish its value and I damn sure not going to profit from it. It is intended for non-profit educational use to demonstrate what the buggers look like. What do you think? Does anyone care?

Added Note - The photo of the Ticks was from an Iowa State online reference work. I really think I'm OK here but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. MUD



  1. Anonymous10:59 AM

    I'm not sure how that works, but it makes me nervous. I use freefoto.com when I want to post a picture from the web to make sure I don't step on any toes. But really, I don't think you'd get in trouble for posting that picture. Although.... that would make an interesting blog post.

    "Old Dude Blogger arrested for refusing to pay fine for using copyrighted pictures of ticks on his blog!" He He.

  2. You can always use my technique. I call it "Not Caring."

    I am pretty sure that you are okay from reading the post and knowing that it is about ticks and avoiding problems with said ticks.

    And you can always provide a link to the article where you got the image. Folks like that on the other end.

    Disclaimer: I couldn't care less if someone took an image from my blog that I made. It has happened before, believe it or not.

  3. I am no lawyer so the following is just my opinion ... Even if a photo is not copyright protected (most newer ones are), it is best to get permission from the photographer then identify and post a link to the original article. That way at a minimum the website gets the traffic "hits" that it deserves for it's original work, which can affect the ability and cost to advertisers on their site. "Deep linking" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_linking) to photos or pages on others sites is a no no since they pay for the bandwidth and external links can bypass the home page (advertising etc). It is ALWAYs better to get permission from a website or original artist/photographer before posting. Also simply possessing a copy of a photograph does not give one permission to publish or copy. Only the original photographer can give that permission. By posting a photograph to the web, even if you do not make any money you reduce the marketability of that photo for the photographer, thereby financially impacting the artist. Also a photo does not need to be marked as copyright protected, it automatically has that protection when it has a fixed form. I could of course have this all wrong so check out the law and how it has been interpreted by the courts.

  4. Anonymous5:52 PM

    I agree with Nevadagenealogist. If you did not create the picture/image or don't have specific permission from the owner, DON'T post it. I've had my images used without my permission. It hurts. A lot.

  5. I think a lot depends on the source of the photo. If it is taken from a site whose goal is educating the public, I don't think they would mind as long as you credit and link the work. I do think linking is important so, as someone above said, the site gets the deserved traffic, and also so readers know where to go to find even more information.

    Things that are easily recognizable to the general public such as shots from movies or pictures of movie posters or book covers are okay, too I think. If you aren't profitting from posting that picture and it is something that will just get the book or movie or whatever more notice anyway, it shouldn't be a problem. I suppose I could have scanned the cover of Ludie's Life rather than captured the image from Amazon when I talked about the book on my blog. Maybe I should have. Maybe I will next time. The point is, it was easy to recognize that it was not my own work and I was not trying to take credit for it. It also was not a work of art but an image created for the purpose of selling a product.

    I would not like it if someone took my photos and used them without permission. When you posted Na's photo, that was different. I feel I "know" you, you told me about it, you linked the source, and your intentions were good. You were not claiming that it was your work or using the image for any evil intent.

    I've seen people snag photos for their banners or to decorate their blogs not thinking the photographer would mind, but I think most people assume that the photos were taken by that blogger unless it is otherwise noted. Permission should also be obtained for that type of use. I don't want anyone giving credit for my work to someone else or someone else profitting from my work. That's why I started putting my little stamp in the corner of photos I think are good enough someone might want to use them. Whether that's likely or not, I want credit for my work. Of course I don't know how to tell that someone has taken images, LOL. I know my mom has because she told me, but I would have given her the photos for her screensaver anyway.

    Wow. I guess I'm back to long comments. That's all opinion. Don't ask me about legalities. Bottom line, I think your use of the tick photo was fine, but it would be nice for you to link and credit them below the photo.

  6. Well MUD .... I checked it over with the Warden (she's a librarian not a lawyer) ... you're toast!!

    No seriously according to her you are not suppose to repost a CP without permission or purchasing.

    As far as "fair use laws" ... well she just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

    But maybe they'll still let you blog from the state pen!