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6 Questions on Copyright infringments and possible penalities
Suvro




msg:3925528
 10:46 am on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I have some confusions regarding web content copyright infringements and possible penalties. Can we discuss upon these 6 questions ?

1) A lot of images are easily available in the public domain and a lot of websites too have the same set of images. In this case can the image owner sue any of these websites ?

2) What comes under the purview of public domain ? I see many websites mentioning that they have considered a particular content to be a part of the public domain and hence they are using it in their websites.

3) As far as images are concerned, a lot of websites copy images from the public domain and alter it a bit for their own websites. Can such companies be sued under copyright laws?

4) Many images are very easily available and have multiple occurrences in multiple websites. IF i happen to use these images, can i be sued for copyright infringement?

5) What can be the maximum penalty for such copyright issues? If I delete the copyrighted content on request of the content owner, can the content owner still go on and claim a monetary compensation from me ?

6)IF I happen to stay in UK and the website is hosted in US. My website has content copied from another website. Under what jurisdiction can the copyright owner file a case against me ?

Looking forward to your comments.

Thanks,
Suvro

[edited by: Suvro at 10:47 am (utc) on June 3, 2009]

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3925592
 12:44 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

1) Yes.

2) Public domain content will generally be identified as such. If it is not then then assume that it is not public domain.

3) Yes.

4) Yes.

5) The maximum penalty would be different in each country. for example, in the UK it is based on "flagrancy and benefit". If you remove the image the owner can still make a claim against you.

6) As I understand it, the Internet being international, claims can be brought in virtually any country.

purplecape




msg:3925817
 5:56 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think Suvro has a misunderstanding of the term "public domain," as seems evident from this question:

"A lot of images are easily available in the public domain and a lot of websites too have the same set of images. In this case can the image owner sue any of these websites?"

If there is an "image owner" then the image, by definition, is NOT in the public domain. "Public domain" has nothing to do with how widely used an image is. It means that an image (or text) is not under copyright, either because the copyright term has ended or it was never under copyright in the first place.

For that reason, you can't assume that a widely used image is in fact in the public domain. All those uses of it may be with permission, may be copyright violations, or a mix of the two.

StoutFiles




msg:3925822
 6:04 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

The most important question is #7.

7) What are the odds of me being sued?

Low. Extremely low. Obviously the more traffic you have and the more money you make, the greater your odds of people wanting you stopped will increase. However, I wouldn't worry about using images unless your site is huge...and if your site was huge you wouldn't be here asking these questions.

Suvro




msg:3926200
 6:29 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the comments.

Now let's take an example. Say, I have a website that relates to movies. Being an ardent movie freak, i catch up with the latest releases and write reviews and personal opinions on all the new movie releases. Also, i add a section on upcoming movies and celeb profiles.

Now, apart from the textual content (reviews, previews, info etc.), I will need to source movie posters, celeb images from external sources. It is actually impossible and out of question to seek permission from Warner Bros before copying the movie posters or celeb images.

As we know, this kind website comes up in hundreds every month. So, if i too come up a website that has "copied" images but unique textual content, then can this be considered as a copyright infringement ?

Looking forward to some more comments.

Thanks,
Suvro

[edited by: Suvro at 6:55 am (utc) on June 4, 2009]

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3926237
 7:24 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

However, I wouldn't worry about using images unless your site is huge.

Correct me if I am wrong but this sounds as though you are promoting image and content theft. The size of the website is of no consequence. No one should be stealing content from other people and if you do so knowingly and get caught then you deserve all that is coming to you.

Regarding the last point, it does not matter in what context the stolen material is used. If you use it without permission it would still be a copyright infringement.

tangor




msg:3926250
 7:37 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I will need to source movie posters, celeb images from external sources.

A REVIEW of a movie is your work. Insert of the poster AS PRINTED is (usually) allowed in relation to the review. Celeb images are NOT allowed because the original photographer and/or studio have copyright to those. Benchmark date for okay to show would be somewhere back in the 1940s and earlier (USA) when many copyrights failed to renew. If interest is in CURRENT films that would leave one open to litigation.

TANSTAAFL

Ask me if you don't get it.

Suvro




msg:3926390
 11:20 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)


Fine, what i get is :

I can use movie posters (as printed) in my website along with my own reviews or previews as the case may be.
I can also write my own content regarding celebs and post in onto my website.

However as far as celeb images are concerned I need further clarifications :

I searched for "pierce brosnan" in Bing.com's similar image feature and i get the following result :

[bing.com...]

The first 5 images are all same but belong to 5 different websites and I am pretty sure that this has been done without any permission by some of them.

Also, i see a lot of good websites mentioning that they have "considered" the images to be in the public domain and hence they have included it. However, in case of any infringement notice they will remove the image with immediate effect.

Can i do the same thing in my website's copyright page ?

Also, even if i want to seek permission, locating the real photographer or owner of the image needs painstaking research as hundreds of images are replicated in hundreds of websites and it is impossible to actually find out the origial owner in this case. A query in the similar search feature of Google or Msn will prove this.

All i need is generic images. Loads of images are freely available in various torrent websites and i was looking forward to use them. Will it be a better idea to get images from torrents rather and copying it from various websites ?

Looking forward to more comments.

Thanks,
Suvro

Syzygy




msg:3926467
 1:26 pm on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also, i see a lot of good websites mentioning that they have "considered" the images to be in the public domain and hence they have included it. However, in case of any infringement notice they will remove the image with immediate effect.

This is a bit of deliberate dishonesty on the part of the webmasters. It is used as a supposed legitimate means that implies "I can take any photos or images I wish. All I have to do is believe that it's 'public domain'".

Photographs are not public domain until such time as the term of copyright expires. There are exceptions: these can be images that have purposefully been put in the public domain and are made available for general use (usually with limited exceptions and conditions), and those to which Creative Commons licensing has been applied. Even in these situations things are not entirely clear cut.

As far as celeb pics are concerned, it's unlikely that you'll need to trace the original photographer. Most photographers will have licensed or sold their images on to major news wires or image libraries - Getty, for example.

Seek these agencies out and buy the images you want safe in the knowledge that your use of them is completely legitimate.

The 'generic' shots are film studio publicity photos, I suspect. Contact the Press/Media departments of the studios/production/PR companies and ask for press images of the relevant celeb.

Having said that, there is the issue of 'Fair Use'. For the purpose of review - the example you have given - you'll find that if the editorial context is legitimate then so is the use of the image.

However, the following is worth your consideration. Studio publicity shots are for publicity. Obvious, huh? Their purpose is to be used by the media (of which review sites are a part).

Now here's the crunch. Celeb photos from news wires and image libraries can only be used if they have been paid for by the user. 'Taking' an image from an organisation like Getty without permission is just asking for trouble.

If you do a film review and use an image of the film poster then it is highly unlikely that anyone will object. After all, its purpose is to promote the film (although there could be reasons why they might object - nothing is black and white in this Technicolored world!).

Read up on Copyrights, Fair Use and Public Domain in respect to imagery. The time put in will prove very much worthwhile.

Syzygy

purplecape




msg:3926509
 2:08 pm on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another way to legitimately get movie poster images--join an affiliate program for a poster-selling company. You'll get permission through them to display images of their posters as part of their affiliate agreement, AND you can potentially earn money through sales of the posters. A win-win situation.

Also, I want to reiterate what others have said--just because images are widely used or available from torrent websites does not mean it's a good idea to use them.

Suvro




msg:3927003
 3:44 am on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the answers.

Can anybody name me a resource for free celeb pics. There must be some website that showcases copyright free images.

Suvro

tangor




msg:3927013
 4:35 am on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't think of any, Suvro. gettyimages is a source, but are a bit pricey.

Just because somebody else is breaking the law doesn't mean you should follow them over the cliff! Do the research, you just might find what you are looking for. I don't do celebs so have no urgent need to investigate that category.

Good luck!

StoutFiles




msg:3927024
 5:09 am on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Correct me if I am wrong but this sounds as though you are promoting image and content theft. The size of the website is of no consequence. No one should be stealing content from other people and if you do so knowingly and get caught then you deserve all that is coming to you.

The size of the website is of all consequence; large companies rarely get off their butts to sue anyone for anything, especially small worthless sites. I've tried to turn sites in myself for illegal content but no one does anything...

vincevincevince




msg:3927048
 6:05 am on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

StoutFiles; big media owners do actively detect and act against copyright infringement of their image assets. I can think of one in particular who spends a lot of time on this.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3927107
 8:22 am on Jun 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

large companies rarely get off their butts to sue anyone for anything, especially small worthless sites

Stout files the information you are offering is both wrong and dangerous. If you don't believe me try Googling - Getty and Corbis copyright claims.

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