The Dalles, OR asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Washington

Q: I'm an artist who is using portraits from historic photos for which copyright is difficult to determine.

The photos have generally been captured from online sites such as Pinterest or general historic photo searches. Specifically I'm plucking images of people from the internet, printing them on my home computer, physically cutting them out of their original setting and collaging them into bigger art pieces that changes the context of the original image. This also includes some altering of the images, with paint on the surface of the photo - further altering the original photo but in most cases not rendering it unrecognizable from the original photo, if you are familiar with it. My current project is a children's book, which I of course hope to publish. How do I determine fair use before shopping a book around?

1 Lawyer Answer
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: You are facing a tough issue. You should definitely talk to an attorney. Also check with an insurance company agent covering copyright violations. They may have some clear cut criteria you can use as a guide.

In general there are several layers of rights. Pintrest and the poster could have copyright rights, even if the picture is outside of protection.

1 user found this answer helpful

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