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  1. #1

    A question about downloading images from Google and using them for work


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    hi. so, for example, if i go and find an image on Google (a photograph). i download it, open it in Illustrator and begin to tweek it, change it, vectorize it, live trace it, cut it, etc. then i may add other images to it and create a completely new final image. and lastly, print the final image on a tee shirt and sell it.. is this illegal? and copyright infringement?? even if the original image is almost not even noticeable? thanx

    by the way, the images i'm using are like postcard style images from old postcards from the 40s and 50s.. things i cannot actually take pictures of myself today...

  2. #2
    StiligeCecilie's Avatar
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    I would say the rule of thumb is that the original image must not be recognizable in the final work. But I'm not 100% sure about this.
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  3. #3
    Izo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducaticanine View Post
    hi. so, for example, if i go and find an image on Google (a photograph). i download it, open it in Illustrator and begin to tweek it, change it, vectorize it, live trace it, cut it, etc. then i may add other images to it and create a completely new final image. and lastly, print the final image on a tee shirt and sell it.. is this illegal? and copyright infringement?? even if the original image is almost not even noticeable? thanx

    by the way, the images i'm using are like postcard style images from old postcards from the 40s and 50s.. things i cannot actually take pictures of myself today...

    It will, largely, be illegal because most of the time you will have found other people's work and are using/modifying it for commercial purposes without their permission. Never use Google images. Instead, if you need images, there are lots of quality stock image sites out there, like:

    Free:
    SXC
    MorgueFile
    Also search Flickr photos, do an advanced search, and enable options for Creative Commons images that are free for commercial usage

    Non-Free:
    iStockPhoto
    Getty Images

  4. #4
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    S'pose it depends what country you reside in, but this article maybe of use if in the UK:

    Intellectual Property Office - Permitted uses of copyright works

  5. #5
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    Hate to burst your bubble Izzo, but it's illegal to modify any image (even one with creative commons) because every artist owns derivative rights to their own work.

    As far as taking several photos and artwork as the basis for an entirely different piece of your own...if none of those referenced pieces are recognizable, it's up to someone to prove that you used a specific piece of work and what that piece was. If there's no proof, there's no problem. But the keywords are 'non recognizable'. That's when yours is considered an original.

    Sheperd Fairey is having a copyright problem because of the Obama artwork he created didn't modify the referenced photo enough. He simply illustrated the photo exactly and put it on a different background. Unfortunately for Fairey, the AP photographer who took the photo recognized his work.

    My suggestion.....take your own photos and be original with your work and you'll never have to worry. Hope this helps.
    Christina Wilkinson
    Sabre Design

  6. #6

    nice suggestions/help from all..thanx

    but my issue here is: like i said, i want images from quite old postcards..should i just take a picture of the postcard (or scan it), then work on it? i mean these are 50 -70 years old. these images.....

  7. #7
    Izo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cwilk View Post
    Hate to burst your bubble Izzo, but it's illegal to modify any image (even one with creative commons) because every artist owns derivative rights to their own work.

    If the image in question has been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (or the v2 one), then you are free to modify and adapt the image in anyway and distribute provided only that the author is credited. In Flickr, you can perform an Advanced Search that allows you to search only images that are CC-licensed and are free to be modified and used for commercial purposes. It's largely how I attain stock images.

    Edit: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ - Summarises the types of copyright and gives you the opportunity to search photos you can use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ducaticanine View Post
    i mean these are 50 -70 years old. these images.....
    Copyright I believe, ends 70 years from the year the creator died... so your talking a long time!

    Intellectual Property Office - How long does copyright last?

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