Picture Copyright!

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Scarlett | 00:06 Sat 13th Jan 2018 | Law
8 Answers
I would like to know the legal position on making jigsaws to sell, with images from the internet OR paintings of those images. Are the copyright laws the same for both? Is it that I would have to obtain permission from the owner of the picture, to reproduce it, as well as to paint it and then sell it?


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Yes but there are free images, search ' Free stock photos' generally those will be safer to use. xx
If you are making a direct copy of the image by any means for a commercial enterprise then the rules are the same. You need the copyright owners permission unless they have a blanket “angel policy”
Copyright is an incredibly complex issue but the Intellectual Property Office has loads of information available here:
(It's nowhere near as comprehensive as it used to be though, when the IPO had its own website, rather than being integrated into '')

In practice, if you're only selling hand-made jigsaw puzzles at local craft fairs (for example), you can probably get away with using almost anything you find on the internet as long as you steer clear of images owned by particularly litigious companies (such as Disney). If you want to sell 'in the big league' though, you need to exercise extreme caution.

The owner of a picture may not have the copyright
I have an oil and the copyright remains with the arteest
As said, copyright law is complex, and that can mean expensive if you get on the wrong side of it....

In general, if you use someone else's creative talent in something you do, then the other person should be rewarded for their input.

That's what copyright aims to achieve.

When anyone creates an original work, that person automatically has copyright in that work (unless they have signed it away to someone else, such as a freelance worker; some employees or other circumstance).

In the UK, that copyright remains with the creator until 70 years after death. Other countries have different limits. See here:

In general, therefore, if you use any image within that period, you *MUST* seek permission from the copyright owner. If you fail to do so, it is treated rather like theft.

Beyond that period, the question is moot. For example, if the National Gallery takes a photo of a picture by Leonardo da Vinci, the photograph is protected by copyright.

So even if you find an image of an artwork where the painter has been dead for a couple of hundred years, it may still be within copyright.

Much the best is to find an image where the auther has specifically said it may be used for free.

One way is to go to

make sure to check the box for 'use for commercial purposes' and then do a search - it should identify images where the owner permits people to use them for commercial purposes. But always check first.

It would be kind (and may be part of the arrangement) to credit the copyright holder.

Good luck!
You can use a painting without consent, 70 years after the artist's death, i.e. anyone who died before 1947, but you still have to take care that someone doesn't have the copyright on the actual photograph itself.
If you used say, a well known work by Monet for example (died 1926) there are so many sources of photos no one could tell from where it came anyway.
Yes - agree with Khandro - a much less convoluted explanation than mine.

Because it is so difficult to make money out of photography, and there are so many skilled phtographers out there, many (but not all) will agree for you to use their work in exchange for a credit, or even just for the thrill of knowing someone appreciates their work.

Remember though, that it is *their* work and they are doing you a favour if they allow you to use it. Try to help them out whenever you have the opportunity to promote their work.

But best advice would be to contact the author/originator, tell them exactly how you plan to use their work and get any agreements in writing (an email would be enough).

They might grant you something like a permanent licence to use the work. That means they still own copyright, but you are allowed to use the work for your own purposes.

The precise terms differ, but Creative Commons (in the previous post) has a lot of information on that.
Rule of thumb - assume copyright for any image on the internet.

There are sites were you can obtain free images - these are different from royalty free images - those you have to pay for initially with no further payments.

Once you have found the free images you still need to read the licence. You may find that you can use them commercially - which is what you want to do, or there may be restrictions on their use.

Also be careful with the free images sites - you can find that an image has been uploaded by someone claiming it is free but they have actually uploaded an image that was purchased elsewhere. I've actually seen this. The free sites usually have an advertising banner showing similar images that are paid ones. On the search results of one of these sites I spotted an image that was also in the advertising banner!

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