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Re: Copy[RIGHT] and ethics: redrawing

In short, academic (non-commercial) uses that modify illustrations and still credit the original source ("Modified after Hartman, et al. 2006) have no legal issue. Modifying an image and not attributing the source for academic publication may be legal depending on what degree you have modified the image, but there's really no ethical excuse for not attributing the original author/illustrator, so this really shouldn't be an issue (although looking at some papers apparently it is...).

If you are publishing something for commercial purposes, then the rules behind copyright violation get a bit tighter, if for no other reason than you have an asset worth suing for (potentially). With commercial projects it's almost always better to secure the proper rights ahead of time rather than modify them slightly and hope for the best. If for some reason it's impossible (and "not being able to afford it" isn't a valid legal rejoinder) I would recommend consulting a copyright attorney first to make sure you are on safe ground in terms of how much you have modified the item in question.

Good luck!

Scott Hartman
Science Director
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
110 Carter Ranch Rd.
Thermopolis, WY 82443
(800) 455-3466 ext. 230
Cell: (307) 921-8333


-----Original Message-----
From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Sun, 17 May 2009 12:43 pm
Subject: Re: Copy[RIGHT] and ethics
: redrawing

- What if it hasn't been possible to obtain permission from the

Usually the author doesn't even hold the copyright, because the author had
to sign over the copyright, his mortgage, and his firstborn to the
publisher. (And most of the exception consists of certain open-access
journals where the author retains the copyright, but has to sign over all
his department's money.)Â

Does publishing redrawn technical images constitute copy[right]

No, at least not if something is modified. For example, fig. 4 in this paper
http://dpc.uba.uva.nl/ctz/vol77/nr03/art02 differs from the originals in the
stipples for shading, the labels, and the shades of gray added to mark
certain bones.Â

- Does it matter if the original drawings originate from an academic
journal or from a more directly commercial publication?Â

No idea, but it would surprise me.Â

- Does it matter what the new drawings are being used for? If they
being published in an academic or commercial setting?Â

Good question. All I say above holds for academic settings. If you're trying
to make money off it, it's probably a better idea to contact the publisher
of the original... though, again, I don't know. Â