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Q: website image copyright issues ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: website image copyright issues
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: dotw-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 24 Jan 2004 17:42 PST
Expires: 23 Feb 2004 17:42 PST
Question ID: 299872
Looking for information regarding the unauthorized use of an image
from a copyrighted site.  Specifically, what if it has been modified
(i.e. sepia & cropped) and used on another site?
Subject: Re: website image copyright issues
Answered By: serenata-ga on 24 Jan 2004 19:28 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Dotw ~

Please pay attention to the disclaimers below. I am not a lawyer, and
I don't play one on TV. And this isn't in any way to be construed as
legal advice. There is plenty of information about copyright and
intellectual property rights available on the internet, most of which
are pretty clear about when copyright is established, what constitutes
infringement (as opposed to 'fair use' and other rights), and the
remedies available for copyright infringement.

You ask about an image which has been cropped, changed to sepiatone
and used on another site without permission.

I am assuming from the wording in your question that you are aware
that copyright is established in the creator at the moment of

If not you may want to read the information available from the United
States Trademark Office,

Paying specific attention to the laws,

the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)

and the Fair Use Doctrine

another explanation from Bit Law on Fair Use

I can't think of any reason someone could claim reproducing, cropping
and changing the color of an image could qualify for fair use, but I
could be missing something.

The remedies open to you are to:

1. Contact the site owner and explain that the use is in violation of
your copyright and ask that it be removed. (Often the best way to
start, as so many people are totally unaware of copyrights, believing
the Internet to be an open resource).

2. Notify the web host of the violation, stating the information
required in the DMCA info above. (An example of the notice can be
found using the search term "DCMA infringement notice), and an example
can be seen here:

Notifying the offending website's host puts them on notice that they
will be held accountable if they containue to host a site with the
offending material. And most hosts, not wishing to get caught up in
the fray will either ask their customer to remove the content or will
suspend the site until the matter can be settled.

3. Proceed to suing the offending site's owner. Remember, in order to
sue for damages, you must actually file the copyright registration of
the material, and you must be able to prove financial damages. This is
the least favorable method, as the costs and time involved are
enormous, and in the end, even if you win a judgment, you may never be
able to collect.

I believe this answers your question, and gives you a good leg on
which to stand if you want to pursue the matter and get the other site
to cease using your image.

Search terms ~

   * US Copyright
   * DCMA
   * copyright + fair use 
   * DCMA infringment notice

Good luck and I hope you get the earliest resolution,

Google Answers Researcher
dotw-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks - very informative.

Subject: Re: website image copyright issues
From: expertlaw-ga on 25 Jan 2004 09:34 PST
Dear dotw,

It sounds like what you describe would be considered a "derivative
work". That would mean that both the original copyright holder and the
person who created the "derivative work" (by cropping and sepia toning
the original work) would be eligible for copyright protection for
their respective contributions to the work. At the same time, with
narrow exceptions such as "Fair Use", neither would be able to use the
derivative work without respecting the copyright held by the other.
Subject: Re: website image copyright issues
From: anonymussedhair-ga on 25 Jan 2004 09:51 PST
Sounds like your work was posted on the net and taken from there -
correct? If so, I suggest using javascripting to make it hard for
anyone who doesn't know the technical work-around to copy your images
off the web. There is code you can cut-n-paste into your html that
will keep visitors from using the right-click method of copying an
image.  People who know programming can bypass this easily, however. 
Additionally, you may want to check out Digimarc Corporation - . They have
software that allows you to tag your artwork with your own copyright
information. If you have a lot of artwork that you want to protect,
they may be the solution.
Not sure of the pricing or if it's worth it to you.

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