Question of legallity

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system1988
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Question of legallity

Post by system1988 » Thu May 30, 2013 11:57 am

Hey all!

This mainly goes to the moderators but all comments on this topic would be nice:

Is there any chance for me to have legal concequences as well as the site, by posting photographed pages (that contain published photos of statues and building sketches that come from an exhibition catalogue). I know that the site is strictly of a non- profit policy and I myself have no income whatsoever by this action, so, in my head I am moving in legal turf. I always of course mention the source of the material I post.

Can anyone give me an honest, responsible and definite answer?

Thanks in advance.
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amyntoros
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Re: Question of legallity

Post by amyntoros » Thu May 30, 2013 6:01 pm

system1988 wrote:Hey all!

This mainly goes to the moderators but all comments on this topic would be nice:

Is there any chance for me to have legal concequences as well as the site, by posting photographed pages (that contain published photos of statues and building sketches that come from an exhibition catalogue). I know that the site is strictly of a non- profit policy and I myself have no income whatsoever by this action, so, in my head I am moving in legal turf. I always of course mention the source of the material I post.

Can anyone give me an honest, responsible and definite answer?

Thanks in advance.

Hi System1988

This is a difficult question to answer from a legal point of view given that copyrights vary from country to country. However, today I found several sites which discuss use of photographs on the internet and they are all pretty much in agreement. In essence, the original photographer owns the copyright which is then licensed for publication (which adds another layer to the copyright) so I would not recommend the online reproduction of photographs from an exhibition catalogue. Yes, there's always an argument of "fair use" for the purposes of criticism or comment, but it is apparently a very grey area when photographs are digitally reproduced and there could be repercussions. A photograph is copyrighted in its entirety so the vague "no more than 10% of the publication" rule cannot be applied or argued.

I've been tempted myself to scan a photo from a catalog - actually the one of the devastation at Ai Khanum caused by looting which is in the Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul catalog. My first hopeful thoughts were that surely one photograph from such a hefty publication would be okay to reproduce here, but then I decided against it for the same reason that you have posted your question.

If anyone else is more familiar with the legalities and/or disagrees with me then please do post.

Best regards,
Amyntoros

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Xenophon
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Re: Question of legallity

Post by Xenophon » Fri May 31, 2013 6:55 am

Amyntoros wrote:
Yes, there's always an argument of "fair use" for the purposes of criticism or comment, but it is apparently a very grey area when photographs are digitally reproduced and there could be repercussions. A photograph is copyrighted in its entirety so the vague "no more than 10% of the publication" rule cannot be applied or argued.
I have some expertise in this area, being a qualified lawyer in both the UK and Australia.You are right that copyright law differs from country to country, and hence is potentially complex. For example, actual copyright in an image/photo of a page produced by system88 vests in her, though that photo might contain someone else's copyright material !! ( the catalogue).

Nevertheless "fair use" or its equivalent is recognised in most jurisdictions, and is also generally recognised as a complete defence.

Leaving aside legal complexities, there are practical aspects as well. Anyone who sues another is up for 'big bucks' in any jurisdiction, which is why Sony for example can afford to take legal action over their rights, but you or I can't. ( I have dozens of violations annually arising from illustrations appearing on the net whose joint copyright vests jointly in me and an artist, but I couldn't even contemplate action over breaches, even if I wanted to ) Worse still, from a plaintiff's point of view, is that they have to prove that a copyright violation, assuming it is proven and there is no defence such as "fair use" has caused them damages or financial loss by that publication. In instances such as forums like this, that is virtually impossible - on the contrary, while usually being fair use, it also usually promotes the source e.g. publication of a photo from a catalogue might boost sales, while publication of, say, all the photos from a catalogue might lead to a loss of sales and hence expose the publisher to a damages claim......but the plaintiff would have to prove an actual loss of sales and be able to quantify that figure.

In the US there is a law that allows someone to demand that a US based server take down publication of photos etc, once someone else demonstrates that they have copyright to that photo. In reality, that is the worst that is likely to happen in the situation described by system88....

All in all, a very complex subject, but the fact that so many millions of photos are published on the internet which are undoubtedly someone else's copyright, and nothing happens, tells its own story.

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