Considering Copyright Issues
The Internet has truly become an image lovers Utopia. Now more than ever, it is easy to copy and distribute digital images. But, like text, images are also protected by copyright law. If you copy an image from the Web, can you use it on your own webpage? The answer to this question depends upon many factors, including whether or not the image is in the "public domain" and if its use is intended for personal, educational, or business purposes, to name but a few of the issues.
Consider the following three good rules of thumb when working with digital images:
1) Don't assume anything;
2) Make a good faith effort to seek written permission from copyright owners before use;
3) Provide appropriate credits for any and all images that you use.
Consider the "Four Fair Use Factors" as outlined by Georgia K. Harper, Manager, Intellectual Property Section for the University of Texas System Office of General Counsel:
1) What is the character of the use?
2) What is the nature of the work to be used?
3) How much of the work will you use?
4) What effect would this use have on the market?
For more information on image copyright issues, consult the following suggested resources:
Art, Copyright, and the Web Bibliography
Artists Rights Society
Copyright & Image Management, Office of General Counsel, University of Texas
The Copyright Website
FA©E (Friends of Active Copyright Education)
An excellent source for basic information on still image copyright as well as moving images, music, and the Internet. A highly recommended sight!
U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress