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Copyright Clarification

Just got off the phone with a client and he has a nephew who got his degree in graphic design so he did up a graphic that he wants to use on the site. When I inquired about the photo, he mentioned they scanned it from an architecture book. I brought up the copyright issue saying that he needed permission to post it on the web and that we could either purchase a similar photo online to use or simply take a photograph of a building himself and scan it in to avoid the issues. He said he's "not really concerned about this particular photo" so I'm looking for some online references to show him the seriousness of the legal issues he's playing with.

My contract specifically states that the owner is 100% responsible for getting copyright permissions and that the designer (me) is completely un-liable if any copyright issues come up due to images provided by the client. So I'm not concerned as much about my own legal issues but want to at least point him in the right direction.

Thanks, this looks like it will be an "interesting" client relationship.

Here are some excellent articles to point him to:

Hope that helps clue him in.

This should help:

--[ Begin Quote ]--

Can't I scan an image and put it online?

If you are not the original creator or copyright owner of the image, you cannot legally redistribute that image. Scanning an image and placing it online is redistribution and it is a breach of copyright.

This includes images found in magazines, books, newspapers, greeting cards, calendars, catalogs, CD covers, brochures, etc.

Major companies such as Disney, Hallmark, Warner Brothers, etc., have very strict regulations about the redistribution of their property.

You cannot legally scan and redistribute photographs, cartoons, illustrations, drawings, etc., if they are protected by copyright.

You cannot legally create a "fan site" using copyrighted photographs without the expressed permission of the photographer or copyright owner.

You cannot "freeze" an image from a television program, movie, or film for redistribution. The television program, movie, or film is protected by copyright as a complete entity and as individual frames.

It is prudent to assume that everything that is published has a restricted copyright. Check the source of the image you want to scan for its copyright restrictions.

--[ End Quote ]--

This is taken from R.I.G.H.T.S. for Artists (http://www.rightsforartists.com/copyright.html). You can also read up on the punishments and remedies for copyright infringement (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html). I too am surprised that this guy isn't concerned about copyrights, especially since he does have a graphic design degree. I would send him to this page, and if he still wants to use it, remind him of the passage in your contract and let him know that you are not responsible. I would e-mail that to him so that you have a copy of correspondence if it comes down to it. Other than that, there isn't much you can do except flat out refuse to put it on the site, which could cost you the client. HTH!




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