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Photos, art work and web pages
I apologize for taking up space debating a subject far removed from
dinosaurs in a forum dedicated to that purpose. However, I think the issue of
copyright may present itself to many of you at some time.
<<<As for the rest of my question, this is how I interpret the answers:
1. If I took the photo myself of a museum skeleton, I need only tell
where the specimen is.>>>
You should ask the museum what it's policies are about publishing photos
of their specimens. You will more than likely need permission to publish
photos of specimens you do not own. It is also very possible you will be
denied permission to publish the photographs, even if you took them yourself.
<<<There are still aspects of the issue that I do not understand. Mostly to
with how a personal web site is considered publishing.>>>
A personal web page is definitely considered publishing. And, it's
considered International publishing. If you make a web page and store it on a
disk, that is your completely "personal" web page. The minute you place it on
the Internet, however, you are making it available to other people. That is
precisely what publishing is.
<< 2. If I took a photo of a sculpture of a dinosaur, I should ask the
<< 3. If I wish to scan and use any artwork or photos, I should ask
permission of the artist him/herself.>>
No, you HAVE to have the permission of the artist or photographer. You
can ask; they may say no. You must not just ask for, but receive permission.
A short word about "fair use." Fair use covers using small portions of a
work, (usually written) without permission, while giving proper credit to the
author. Using art work and photographs is not considered "fair use." Not
unless you are going to use a miniscule portion of the art work-a portion so
small it would bear little resemblance to the original work. For example,
fair use would be using four lines from a 400 page novel. Using four lines
from a poem with 14 lines is not considered fair use. It is copyright
infringement. The points Mr. Polling brought up are correct, but used to
determine damages, if any, in a copyright infringement lawsuit. He is very
wise to "rather be safe than sorry" and also shows professional consideration
which will keep him in the good graces of his peers.
<<Most of the photos that I wished to use are already on the web in various
places. It would be easier for me to just send people to the other sites,
rather than download and patch myself (also saves me space).>>
Downloading and patching? A definite NO NO. First, the maker of the page
owns the copyright to it in that form. More importantly, the maker of the
site you are pirating most likely has the necessary permissions to use the
photographs and artwork-you do not. Rights are not automatically
transferrable...just because one site uses the art work does not mean the
artist or photographer has given a blanket approval for anyone to use it.
To prevent redundancy, you should provide links to photos that are
already out there and try to use original artwork and photos on your own
page. You don't need permission to add a link from your page to someone
else's page, however, it would be the polite and professional thing to do.
That is because you are only providing a link to that page, not using it (or
any part of it) as your own. The web page owner would probably be happy to
I detect a certain doubt about the relative value of art work and
photographs. I don't think anyone would consider using the works of a
well-known writer, scientist, researcher, etc. without their permission. I
think we should show the same respect and consideration for well-trained,
educated professionals in other areas as well.
I'm not a lawyer...and I am a complete novice and amateur concerning the
finer points of paleontology <blush> (I know...boo, hiss), but I have worked
in publishing since 1981. And, believe me, artists, writers and photographers
take copyright law very seriously.