Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    15

    Default Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    I need some help with copyright law... I've Googled the snot out of this problem and run into nothing but

    About a month ago I tried submitting a design to a credit card "custom designer" that was primarily a photo taken from an Air Force website, with my own "logo" in the corner of the photo. The design got rejected with no specific reason attached (the email just contained their "terms" as agreed when submitting the design). I called up the company and asked about the reason, which the representative didn't have access to, so I described my design. The representative was clearly unfamiliar with copyright law and just told me that I basically couldn't use any photo that someone else took.

    Now I've submitted the design again, with a long blurb of informational text below the design (off the printed area). I'm concerned it may be rejected again and I'd like to get some solid information about this subject from someone else. If, as per US Copyright Law, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105, government works are in public domain, doesn't that specifically mean I don't need permission to reproduce the image?

    And if I do need permission, where would I get that from? Clearly I can't ask the author directly. I'd really like to get the design approved and maybe to have the people approving/declining these cards become a little more educated.

    Here's the "terms" that I need to adhere to:
    For all images you must:
    * Own the image or have permission from the owner to use the image on your card

    Images must not include:
    * Trademarks, advertising, or branding; business cardholders are, however, permitted to use their own business’s logo, name, or tag line
    * Telephone numbers, URLs, account numbers, or email addresses
    * Imagery that features cartoon characters or public figures such as celebrities, musicians, athletes, or entertainers
    * Imagery or messaging that is violent, offensive, or anti-social; contains nudity or obscenity; or is political or religious in nature
    * Symbols representing money or other content that might result in confusion at the point of sale, or that might result in card fraud
    Should I upload the image I created here? Seeing as though that's the topic of this thread, I'm not sure.

    edit: Oops - I forgot, the site specified that the laws of California apply here, or something like that. I'm also a California resident myself.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    I'm concerned it may be rejected again and I'd like to get some solid information about this subject from someone else. If, as per US Copyright Law, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105, government works are in public domain, doesn't that specifically mean I don't need permission to reproduce the image?
    If the government produced that photo, no, you would not need permission.

    The tricky bit here is that just because the government is using the photo, does not mean that it is in the public domain. The US government often uses civilian contractors for such purposes, and often the artist retains copyright.

    You would need to contact the agency that owns the website to determine if the photo is public domain, or if it is one that the artist has retained rights to. If it is the latter, you would need to obtain the artist's contact information and seek permission that way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    If the government produced that photo, no, you would not need permission.

    The tricky bit here is that just because the government is using the photo, does not mean that it is in the public domain. The US government often uses civilian contractors for such purposes, and often the artist retains copyright.

    You would need to contact the agency that owns the website to determine if the photo is public domain, or if it is one that the artist has retained rights to. If it is the latter, you would need to obtain the artist's contact information and seek permission that way.
    Missy... I forgot... arent' the LOGO's for the armed forces copywritten?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    "Copyrighted".

    And the answer is no. They're trademarked, which is entirely different.

    But our OP isn't asking about using the Air Force logo, he's talking about using his own logo with a photo from an Air Force site.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Quote Quoting LawResearcherMissy
    View Post
    "Copyrighted".

    And the answer is no. They're trademarked, which is entirely different.

    But our OP isn't asking about using the Air Force logo, he's talking about using his own logo with a photo from an Air Force site.
    Sorry about the misspelling...

    copyright and trademark law is a huge black area in my knowledge and I was excited about a chance to learn.

    My thought was that since the logo was removed, did that change the question?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    My thought was that since the logo was removed, did that change the question?
    Probably not. The question is one of ownership of a photo, not of a logo.

    If the image were of the Air Force logo, it would be infringement.

    But I don't think that's what's going on here. It seems to me the OP found a stunning photo of aircraft or somesuch, and merely added his own artwork/typeface. Which, on its face, is fine if it is a public domain photo.

    Where it gets sticky is trying to determine that part. The government does employ some full-time photographers, but in most instances - and particularly for brochure and website graphics - civilian labor is used and the artist is permitted to retain copyright so s/he can make further use of the image.

    Of course, it's all speculation until our OP comes back and gives a little more detail. OP, could you post the URL of the page where you found the image, as well as a link to the image itself? Perhaps we can untangle whether or not this is a public domain photo or if you'll need to start writing to people.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Okay, so I guess it's best I post the photo I submitted, and the original source...



    Image source: http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/ne...wsphotoid=7972

    Haven't received any word back from the bank yet, but it did take a few days for them to decline it last time. I might get lucky this time now that I put down the source?

    Thanks for your help so far!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Oooh, looky here:

    An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft connects with the refueling boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over Iraq on May 7, 2006. DoD photo by Senior Airman Brian Ferguson, U.S. Air Force. (Released)
    See that bolded bit?

    Airman Ferguson released his photo to the Department of Defense. The photo is public domain.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Well, a quick update... the bank finally got back to me about the design. It's approved! The only difference between the first time I submitted it (and it got declined) and this time, is that this time I actually wrote (below the printed area) information about the source of the image and the copyright law.

    Hopefully they didn't feel like being smartalecks and printing a small spot of my "don't print below this line"... /rage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Reproducing Government-Released (Public Domain) Photos - Permission

    Congratulations, and thanks for the update!

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Copyright Law: How Does 'Public Domain' Work
    By karaann07 in forum Intellectual Property
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-03-2010, 12:11 PM
  2. Copyright Law: What's Classified As Public Domain
    By Mastevens in forum Intellectual Property
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-23-2010, 08:21 PM
  3. Copyright Law: When Are Movies in the Public Domain
    By Crestofbluefire in forum Intellectual Property
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-17-2010, 07:48 PM
  4. Copyright Law: Copyright and Public Domain
    By jpeterson in forum Intellectual Property
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-10-2009, 06:30 PM
  5. Copyright Law: Public Domain
    By sporter5 in forum Intellectual Property
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-26-2008, 07:02 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources