By in Pictures

Copyright Information for Photos Directly from the Copyright Office

I just got off the phone with the Copyright office here in the U.S. I figured it was better to go straight to the source than for us to all keep guessing at what the laws were about copying/downloading photos without permission.

According to the Copyright office, it IS ILLEGAL to download/copy a photograph you find on the Internet, even for personal use, without asking permission. The lady on the phone said it was infringing on the rights of the photographer and is against the law.

I also asked if you had to use a different form of copyright that was tech based, like an electronic copyright or something, because someone here keeps telling me just putting my name on the photos isn't enough. According to the Copyright office, IT IS ENOUGH to just put your name on the photo. It is YOUR photo as soon as you make it. You don't have to do any special Internet stuff to make it copyrighted.

So, it is NOT right or legal to just download or copy a photograph you find online that you like. You are supposed to ask permission first. Even if you are only using it for personal use, you are still infringing on the rights of the photographer.

I'm glad we got that cleared up.


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Comments

MegL wrote on November 10, 2014, 1:39 PM

Not everyone will bother to follow the law because they don't see any enforcement! emoticon :sad:

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 1:41 PM

This is true. I just wanted people to know that it was against the law because some people thought it was ok to steal photos as long as it was for personal use. The lady on the phone said I could get a lawyer if I wanted if someone steals photos. They will only get involved if the person posts the photo somewhere or tries to sell it, but you can sue them personally.

WordChazer wrote on November 10, 2014, 1:44 PM

That's very helpful, thanks AngelSharum . Unfortunately, as MegL says, not everyone will bother to comply. Oh well. We'll just have to go after them with a DMCA and make them take it down if we find them using our work without permission. Too many times and with luck, Google will have their guts for garters anyway...

paigea wrote on November 10, 2014, 2:01 PM

From time to time a person comes to school (I'm afraid I don't know from what agency) . they sit by the photocopier all day for a couple of days and write down everything that teachers copy. They can even look at what has been copied already, and is being used in the classroom. Teachers seem to need that reminder that everything can't be copied at will.

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 2:22 PM

I just wanted to check with the source since there was so much confusion. It is a shame people steal, but at least I know now that it is not ok.

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 2:23 PM

I've never heard of that before.

melody23 wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:00 PM

We have a thing in uni next to the printers telling us how much of anything we are allowed to copy for educational purposes, but recently what has been happening is that lecturers are not even allowed to post journal articles, or even direct links to them on the uni website for us to use even although all the people who could possibly access it have an educational Athens account to access the journals in question legally. they now have to post the reference and we have to search the article ourselves which is much harder than you would think it is, especially if the author has written a lot of articles!

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:14 PM

I guess it's a good practice even though it's tedious for those of you having to do the work.

MegL wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:16 PM

Yes, it can take 30 minutes just to skim an academic article to see if it is of use. If you want to read it fully, comment on it and cite it, it can take at least 90 minutes for one article! I download articles with Athens and many of them have the correct citation link in the top part of the article, before you even get to read it. That is helpful.

Kasman wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:28 PM

Copyright everywhere is very complex. AngelSharum has done good work in clearing up the (especially my) confusion on the personal use of images. As for the issue with teachers copying material this may help http://www.edutopia.org/copyright-rules-teachers

SLGarcia wrote on November 10, 2014, 3:39 PM

That is good to know. Unfortunately it would be extremely difficult to enforce I would imagine.

Ellis wrote on November 10, 2014, 4:22 PM

I didn't think anyone was in any doubt as to the legality of downloading the work of others...the issue is how to stop it....webmasters can add code to disable the right click/save option on pictures, but that is beyond us as posters.

Lemark wrote on November 10, 2014, 4:38 PM

There are ways of downloading the image even if right clicking is blocked. But it should be enough for most of us.

Lemark wrote on November 10, 2014, 4:39 PM

Thanks for the time and effort you've put into this. Now we all know that this is officially illegal. Unfortunately it doesn't change a thing :(

Scorpie wrote on November 10, 2014, 5:51 PM

If you stick to your own photos that's safe. If you use photos from wikimedia commons then that's safe because there is a non-exclusive public license to use their photos if credited. Publishers may also use photos under paid license from places such as Getty Images.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 10, 2014, 5:57 PM

That is exactly what I thought and have always said. You created it, that makes it yours immediately and it is copyrighted by law. The problem is people don't know this or just don't care...probably the latter. At least you know you are right now!

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 6:39 PM

Yeah, I'm sure most of the time we'll never know if it happens.

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 6:40 PM

It certainly seemed that some people thought it was legal and okay to download or copy photos for their personal use. Both on this site and on Facebook when we talked about it.

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 6:41 PM

LOL, I just wanted to make sure because people seemed to think it wasn't illegal for personal use. I was on hold for an hour to find out I was right all along. ;)

AngelSharum wrote on November 10, 2014, 6:43 PM

Yeah, I wanted to make sure what was correct.

WordChazer wrote on November 11, 2014, 2:40 PM

Unsound or incomplete academic citation in a paper can result in loss of any degree or award earned from the submission of that paper. I spent a year working for an academic journal editor and two years in the rights finance department of a major academic publisher. It's a licence to print money when done right - payments can be ten times the number of words quoted. However, if someone is found to be quoting or reprinting work without permission, then their business is toast as the legal department are usually faster than greased lightning when firing off lawyers' letters.

AngelSharum wrote on November 11, 2014, 3:13 PM

WOW! I guess it pays to do it right the first time then.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 11, 2014, 10:47 PM

Good for you for sticking with this until you got all the details. Hang in there.

AngelSharum wrote on November 11, 2014, 11:40 PM

I just wanted to know for sure so I called. Always best.