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Author Topic: Tracing images and copyrights  (Read 429 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Tracing images and copyrights
« on: October 02, 2015, 11:05:07 AM »
Not sure where to put this question, so I'm putting it here...

Basically, I might need a image for an e-book cover soon. I'm considering various options, including commissioning an image or making one myself. And I have a question regarding the latter option.

I don't draw that well, so I don't think I'd be able to draw a proper-looking image from scratch... I'm wondering, though: would it be legal to take an existing image (a still from a movie or a stock photo), transform it into a drawing by the way of manually tracing it, then add some modifications on my own and use the resulting image as a cover? Would it be considered a copyright breach?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 11:06:20 AM by Beorning »

Offline eBadger

Re: Tracing images and copyrights
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2015, 10:14:36 AM »
*Not a lawyer*

That's the fuzzy grey legal area of copyright law, I think.  Most fair use falls under 'commentary and criticism' or 'parody', though; using another's work for your own financial gain is pretty much the definition of what copyright law is trying to stop, so I would suggest you avoid the situation if possible although yes, there is some degree of 'transformative' that would exempt you (although it seems like it needs to be pretty drastic). 

Workarounds, based on your link:

-Images taken by a US government employee in the course of their work are not subject to copyright.  I'm not sure about other countries.  That may take a bit of looking, but I'm sure you could find something on the TSA website or a government report. 

-Look around for unrestricted photos.  Wiki Commons is a good source for that.  This image isn't restricted, for instance, and you could do a lovely something with it just by removing the background and applying a filter/grayscale. 

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Re: Tracing images and copyrights
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 06:18:18 AM »
Free Use only protects you if you don't make any profit from using that content. A simple workaround to that would just be getting the original creator's approval for use. That, or you'd have to give the illustrator a percentage of your sales. If you're looking to commission a piece, look through deviantART. TONS of artists there who sell their work.

But like eBadger said. *Not a Lawyer*