brian2000 From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 5 posts, RR: 0 Posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5962 times:
I found an image on the net of a Lockheed aircraft and would like to use it in a publication (book). It does not have a watermark and only has the following in the file info settings "Lockheed Martin Photo by Andy Wolfe".
Is this something that I need to obtain permission to use? I cannot find the contact info for Andy Wolfe nor anything on the Lockheed site about copyrights. I want to be respectful of the copyright, but am just spinning my wheels.
ckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 813 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5918 times:
The picture (any picture!) is copyright of (at least) the photographer regardless of whether it is watermarked, credited etc. The fact that it has been placed in a public domain is not a copyright release unless there is a specific notice to that effect (as in the case of Wikipedia images). Don't forget intellectual rights covers HOW the picture will be used - a company may have very strong feelings about using a picture in a way which does not reflect well on them. But you should not assume its OK even if you are showing the company in a favourable light.
Technically you do need permission - in this case possibly from both Lockheed and Andy Wolfe, but certainly Lockheed (assuming Andy was working for them). There are no practical exceptions to this. It is possible that Lockheed's contract with Andy Wolfe includes conditions of use. It is not uncommon for a photog to provide an organisation with an image to use as they like, but forbid it being passed to 3rd parties (as this may impact additional sales).
The question is what are the risks?
Potentially you could be liable to financial penalties - how much would be for a court to decide, and be be based on how the picture was used - for example, if the pic was used on the cover and was considered a key factor in selling the book, this would almost certainly be considered commercial use and the penalties could amount to a substantial proportion of the sales. Other situations may not be 'punished', but you would still have court costs to consider.
Maybe you should ask your lawyer friend if he will defend you FOC if it goes wrong
Will Lockheed care? I wouldn't like to say - some companies are very litigious and will pursue any copyright/trademark infringement ruthlessly. Others are much more relaxed. But I was personally involved in a not disimilar case in which an organisation took an action against an eductional institution for using an image without permission in learning materials.
The point is that without permission you are in the wrong - the only area of doubt is whether you get prosecuted. Personally I would be uncomfortable with a risk that was not in my control. At the very least I would strongly recommend contacting Lockheed - and keeping a record of that contact. If you can show you made reasonable efforts to obtain permission, this will go some way to mitigating any penalties should you end up in court.
You may also want to think about how you credit the picture if you choose to use it. Your instinct may be to credit it as you found it ... but by doing so you are of course tacitly admitting you know who owned the picture.
If Lockheed had anything that resembled this, it would be obvious as to what has to be done. But they do not, as far as I can tell. Seeing as the aircraft are built with government money, have no watermarks, and they offer no obvious means to obtain usage, it would hint that the image is fair use. Though of course, I am not taking chances, which is why I consulted with a lawyer as well as the people on this forum. I am now even more curious about it.
The other path is to obtain the rights to use images from this site. That is what I am attempting to do for Boeing images since their fees are very high.
Shouldn't this mean that Mr Wolfe has nothing to say in the matter?
Not necessarily. It is quite possible for a photographer to assign rights to another party for a specific range of uses, while retaining rights for other uses. Joint copyright is not uncommon.
Quoting brian2000 (Reply 7): If Lockheed had anything that resembled this, it would be obvious as to what has to be done. But they do not, as far as I can tell. Seeing as the aircraft are built with government money, have no watermarks, and they offer no obvious means to obtain usage, it would hint that the image is fair use.
We have to be careful not to confuse what we'd like the law to be (or even common sense) with what the law is! If you like, the law favours the artist. Protection of intellectual property (in most countries) is automatically assigned. The creator does not have to do ANYTHING to protect that right - it's his/hers whether they want it or not till the day they die (and for for sometime after that!). As copyright law stands at present, the onus is on the person who wants to use the image to do all the work.
"Fair use" is often misused as an excuse to publish an image, as is "editorial use". Fair use generally applies to works which can be reproduced in part, for example, exerpts used in a review. Its difficult to see how a picture can be used in this way such that it doesn't "conflict with a normal exploitation of a work" - a picture is generally either published or it isn't ... showing bits is not much use!
Editorial use is more about the rights of the subject of the picture, or property owner, rather than the image itself.
There is also "creative commons" in which case the artists relinquish some or all of their rights to the image. But even in this case, while you can use a creative commons licenced image, you may not be able to use it for profit -there have been some cases on this regarding pics taken from Flickr.
brian2000 From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 5 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5880 times:
I just heard back from Laurie at Lockheed. She said she will review the image and make sure it is OK to publish. It looks like they are more concerned about proprietary/secret aspects than financial compensation/rights. She did not indicate there would be a fee to use to the image.
Either way, it is good to contact them and do things the right way. Thanks for the great information guys!