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I think I'm getting dangerously close to breaking the laws of copyright. I use well known pictures for the stories I write about them. Album covers and famous art mostly. I always give photo/painting credit when I can. But sometimes the pictures that are old don't include the name. I read all the websites about it and it's a grey area for my usage-Educational. Another monkey wrench is that I charge for the zine, BUT, don't make a profit. What are your thoughts on this?

Tags: copyright

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Why use well known pictures? If you are concerned there are plenty of clip art/royalty free images you can use all over the internet. Or pick up some super old books/magazines from thrift stores or libraries. Do you think that your zine will be read by someone that will see the image being used and report it?

The worst that may happen is that you will receive a "cease and desist" letter. Asking you to discontinue use of the picture.
This is one of those questions that's been brought up again and again on the WMZ forum.

Question is, what do YOU believe about copyrights?

If you don't believe in them, or if your belief/non-belief is qualified/uncertain, hasn't it been a major "sub-ethic" in zinedom to ignore copyrights. Again, that's an ethical/practical question everybody's got to personally explore themselves. How much are you willing to risk in your anti-establishment rebellion?

I use images and text from old books, magazines, catalogues, and probably even newer ones. I don't much care if I'm breaking any copyright laws when I do.

But if I think I might offend some zinester I know and have been friendly with, I almost certainly wouldn't use a picture they drew or took, or something they wrote or recorded. I don't claim that's strictly logical. It doesn't have anything to do with being "anti-corporate" or "stickin' it to the man". I think copyrights, at best, are very dubious and I can't imagine that my use of photos from the sources I get them can possibly hurt anybody. In all the 17 years I've freely used the graphics I have, nobody's ever objected, much less a corporation or business.
I use well known pictures because they are what I write about. Little know or interesting facts about well known artists. Good or bad. If they don't have specific art I use their photo.
Also, I would NEVER use art from another zine. I never copy stylistically used images. There is plenty out there for me to use for cover art etc. Don't ever worry about that from me.

NicoleIntrovert said:
Why use well known pictures? If you are concerned there are plenty of clip art/royalty free images you can use all over the internet.
Yes, you're violating copyright, there is nothing gray about it. Unless the photos are of album covers you are reviewing or say classic art you are critiquing, reprinting a low-res version in a review/preview of something is generally considered OK. Educational use is a different matter, it would never include reprinting art in a publication, much less one you sell, without the copyright holder's permission. I manage a college library, we deal with educational use and copyright all the time. But you won't get caught, the images owners don't care about small potatoes copyright violations, they only go after big ones. So it boils down to your own personal ethics and aesthetics. I personally generally try to keep all the photography and artwork in anything I publish original unless it's a review, not because I care so much about copyright, I just think aesthetically it looks tacky to use a bunch of other people's artwork and photos.
Well I know my readers like my art facts. I illustrate these articles with the real thing so they can see what I'm talking about. How else would I do it? Draw the first photograph by Niepce? Explain what a painting looks like? There is no way around it unless I take out that 1/3 of the content in my zine. I don't want to do that. I guess I'll have to find a way to live with myself.
Here was what I was going to say:
I think your usage, whether you credit the images or not, is not really protected under fair use. I think it might be if your intent was to comment on the images themselves, but that doesn't sound like what you're doing. You could go the cautious route and stop using them, and perhaps use images you do have rights/permission to use instead, but the truth is that no one who cares is likely to ever notice, and if they do the consequence is most likely just that you'll be told to stop.

But after your last comment, which changes my understanding of what you're doing, I want to say:
I think it's considered fair use to reproduce something in order to talk about it, like copying a passage of a book in a book review. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to back down to anyone who challenges you, whether it is or isn't fair use, because it costs too much to defend yourself in court.
I found this at http://www.chillingeffects.org/fairuse/

Copyright and Fair Use
When a copyright holder sues a user of the work for infringment, the user may argue in defense that the use was not infringement but "fair use." Under the fair use doctrine, it is not an infringement to use the copyrighted works of another in some circumstances, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, or educational use. The defense generally depends on a case-by-case judgment of the facts.

Fair use is codified at Section 107 of the Copyright Act, which gives a non-exclusive set of four factors courts will consider in deciding whether a use is fair or not. These factors are

1. the purpose and character of the use,

2. the nature of the copyrighted work,

3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and

4. the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Of course, even with these factors, it is problematic and often unyielding to try to predict what uses a court will deem fair.
Remember copyright laws are different from country to country.
Adam Icarus said:
Image owners, maybe. If you start talking about songs and films with bit torrent, the RIAA/MPAA used to sue anyone and their grandmother. Sometimes literally. Images just aren't as profitable, so no one cares as much, I guess./div>

I don't think anyone has been sued for downloading movies yet. There definitely have been a couple high profile music cases where they busted heavy uploaders. Usually with movies, they will just get your service provider to send you a warning. I got one two years ago, then never anything else.
This is incorrect:

Joseph Delgado said:
Unfortunately federal law stipulates once you write, create, paint, or anything you produce is automatically copyrighted by that particular artist/ writer, etc. so everything is in some copyrighted domain, however to get around giving credit, or having to acknowledge the originator's copyright simply ALTER THE IMAGE. altering the image from the original, no matter how small, changing the name slightly creates your own copyright...they cant go after you if the image is not presented as the original as it was created. its become your image...i utilize a lot of pirated images from old national geographics, art magazines, all at least 20 years old or more, the less likely some studious copyright cop will run across a problem with my zine....using 'famous' photographs such as from the collections of notable photographers like mapplethorpe, goldin, avadon of course will catch attention...but utilizing lesser known works may be of assistance.
Yes, it is fair use if you are commenting on that specific work. But overall, in practice, people only come after you if they think they can get money out of it.

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