1. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Rights to pictures that are available for free download as wallpaper

    Discussion in 'Research' started by mrieder79, Apr 17, 2016.

    Mods, if you need to move this, that's fine. I thought research was the best fit.


    I found a picture that is fantastic for my book. It is available as a free download as wallpaper for your desktop. As a matter of fact, it is my current desktop. I tried looking for licensing information on the website but couldn't find anything. My plan was to use it for a sample cover for my book to put on my blog.

    Any thoughts about how to legally handle this? If something is available for free download is it open season on usage?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No it's not open season. Someone likely has a copyright on it, and it's a matter of finding out how they have licensed it. Try running it through Google image search.
     
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  3. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I agree with @Steerpike.
     
  4. The Triarii
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    The Triarii Member

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    Even if it isn't listed as copyrighted they still own the rights to it. So if you use it you could get in trouble unless you get permission from them first. If its a small site or early level designer he may be willing to allow you to use it just to get exposure. If it's something more cooperate then you don't want to mess with it. If the wallpaper includes something else that is copyrighted, trademarked, licensed, or someone's intellectual property (for example a wall paper of a band, video game, movie etc.) then you still don't want to mess with it, even if the designer gives you permission.

    Just because it's free doesn't mean someone doesn't own it. It does not mean that it is free to be redistributed (used for anything other than your personal background). It does not even mean that the site you got it from actually even owns the rights to be redistributing it.

    TL;DR. Just don't use it.
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Depending on where the image was made, it may be a lot more likely than not that it is not available. In the U.S., for example, copyright vests automatically, by operation of law, upon creation of the image. Unless the artist specifically went out of her way to release the image under a permissive license, it is not available for use.
     
  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I wasn't saying it is. And I changed my post because I'm not sure how accurate a lot of what I said is.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    My guess is the wallpaper site itself doesn't even know whether they have the right to distribute it, or whether any permissions are needed in order to do so. That's typically how this stuff ends up going on the internet. But no one is going to find out or do anything if you have a wallpaper up on your computer. If you have the image on the front of a book on Amazon, they're a lot more likely to find it and want to be compensated for it.
     
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  8. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That's kind of what is was saying. Kind of.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that you probably don't have the right to use the image. In addition, if you DO have the right--if, for example, it's been made public domain by the artist--that means that you have no right to restrict others from using it. You don't want the most important image associated with your marketing plan to be something that anyone anywhere can use for their marketing plan.

    And, if you discover that the image is creative commons, in theory the license for that image might impact your rights over your own book. That may be a stretch, but it's yet another reason to probably not do this.
     
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  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Legally there's only one approach you can use - find the artist / creator or owner of the image and ask for permission. My guess is that the image is on the free download wallpaper site because they don't know about it. What often happens with wallpaper sites is that someone comes along, spots the graphic, thinks this would make a great wallpaper and then uploads it to the site. Because its free for download the wallpaper people think it's ok to accept it without further checking.

    Go to the wallpaper site, ask for whether they own the rights to the graphic (they probably won't) then ask them for the contact details to the person who uploaded it to their site. Assuming they can do this, rinse and repeat. If you can't get the details you need, end game.

    As an aside I did this with an initial cover for my latest book Samual. Found an image as a wallpaper that I loved, and tried to contact the author through it. Couldn't - but found the artist by doing a google reverse images search. When I found the artist, I enquired, found out she didn't know the image was out there, and gave her those details. Then I had to go through a negotiation process with the artist to see if I could use the cover. She was too dear and had all sorts of fishhooks in the license she was willing to sell, and so I walked away. But imagine if I had just used the free download wallpaper and she had seen the book cover! It would have been a mess.

    Always get permissions - in writing if possible. Keep your correspondance too.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  11. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    Thanks you all for the good advice.
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Yes, a very complicated and divided debate that eventually resulted in check first. (Sarcasm)
    Not trying to mock you, just so you know. Just joking around.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The underlined portion is of utmost importance. Never mind free; even when you do purchase license to use an image, that license may well have limitations of use. When we installed the little medals for contest winners here in the forum, the one used for the Short Story contest was purchased by me for use in the forum. Its use, though, is not unlimited. There are restrictions. I created the other medals by hand in order to avoid such restrictions as they are my own creation, which I offer to the forum for whatever purpose the forum would like to use.
     
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  14. The Triarii
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    The Triarii Member

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    Also if you need a cover maybe ask on the site. Most of us have professions outside of writing. For example I am a graphic designer (before you ask I unfortunately don't have time to take extra work right now). Maybe someone here could help you or knows someone who could
     

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