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Q: Beatles Copyright Images ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Beatles Copyright Images
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: grgxl5-ga
List Price: $150.00
Posted: 01 May 2006 10:02 PDT
Expires: 31 May 2006 10:02 PDT
Question ID: 724406

I am re-desinging my website. My website is desinged to promote my
small company, Greg Rowland Semiotics ( Semiotics
is an acedemic theory which we use to analyse brands and culture.

I am hoping to construct an illustration of how semiotics works, by
creating an animated flash-movie. I will talk about brands in general
and the improtance of semiotics. I am hoping to use the semiotics of
the Beatles as an iullstration of the methodology. Ideally I would
show their images (cartoon Beatles would be fine) and also reproduce
the cover of 'With The Beatles" for analysis. effectively I would be
reviewing the symbolism of the Beatles.

I have three questions in this regard.

1. Who holds copyright to the 'With The BEatles' cover image?
2. Where else might I obtain Beatles copyright imagery (including cartoon figures)?

3. I am not suggesting that my commercial work is endorsed by ther
Beatles in any way, and am simply using them as examples of symbolism.
I am intellectually reviewing the Beatles as icons, but obviously this
is in the overall context of a commercial endevour. Any idea how the
law stands on this? Should I give up before I start?!

I am based in London, UK. I will take further legal advice but wanted
to get a first thought from yourselves.


Subject: Re: Beatles Copyright Images
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 01 May 2006 19:00 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Ah, The Beatles.  You're bringing back fond memories of my youth (hazy...but fond).

Your desire to use images of The Beatles to illustrate your semiotics
site is understandable...they are cultural icons with a powerful
symbolic content.

Perhaps for that very reason, Beatles pix are also hot commodities. 
They are not impossible to license, by any means.  But you may have to
face the reality of not having access to every image you might want to
get.  And for the ones that are commercially available, you'll have to
see which images work within the constraints of your particular

Let's get right to the "With the Beatles" image, a remarkably
uncharacteristic album cover for its day.  The image was photographed
by Robert Freeman, who apparently still holds the rights to it.  You
can see the image in small and large format in this gallery exhibit of
Freeman's works:
Robert Freeman 

Title :   "With the Beatles" 
Artist :   Robert Freeman 

You can contact the gallery at: 

and they should be able to let you know who to contact reagarding the
status of the image in terms of licensing arrangements for use for
your website.

You may also want to ask them for Freeman's contact information (which
they probably won't provide) or to pass along a message from you to
Freeman (which they might do).  It never hurts to ask, and if Freeman
takes an interest in the image being used in a semiotics-context, he
might just give you permission gratis to make use of the image.

Other Beatles pictures are available from commercial photography
houses.  The largest and best known are:


A search at Corbis on [ beatles ] returns more than 1,000 images.   

Note the numerous check boxes which you can check or uncheck in order
to fine-tune your results:

Rights Managed 
Black & White 

For instance, by unchecking Photography, you'll be left with illustrations.

If you're wondering about prices for these images, you won't find much
information at the Corbis site, or at most other image-licensing
sites.  The prices vary enormously according to the picture itself,
the quality of the image you want, and the use to which it will be
put.  Your only real option is to contact Corbis, let them know of
your interests, and begin discussing options and prices.

The other image giant is Getty Images:

Click on 'Editorial', and then search on [ beatles ], which turns up
more than 2,000 images, including the very first one (on my search
results) that contains the "Meet the Beatles" album as an image within
an image:

Image 57259188  
5 Apr 2006 

Since the rights for this image have already been worked out, you may
want to consider using this image in your collection (none of the
collections I searched had the actual "With the Beatles" image as part
of their collection).

Another stock photo house is iPhotoArt, which is a source for many
famous newspaper and magazine photos:

They have some nice Beatles shots, including a great one with Ed
Sullivan (himself, a cultural icon of sorts).  iPhotoArt concentrates
on providing prints for collections, and I'm not sure if they handle
the sort of licensing arrangements you're interested in, but it may be
worth contacting them if one of their pictures strikes your fancy.

As you can see, the raw material is all out there.  Getting it into
your site, though, can be a cumbersome and expensive process.  There
are firms that can handle licensing arrangements for you, and they can
alleviate the cumbersome part of the process, but add considerably to
the expense, I'm afraid.

I wanted to offer an option that you may want to consider.  Are you
familiar with Wikipedia?  If not, I highly recommend a quick immersion
in the Wikipedia is one of the internet's great and rapidly
growing resources:

There are many wonderful aspects to Wikipedia, but two that I want to
bring to your attention are these:

1.  Wikipedia has set something of a standard for online 'fair use' of
copyright materials.  They have done so by being careful and explicit
in their use of copyright images.  For instance, here is how they make
use of the "With the Beatles" photograph:

In the middle of the page is their Licensing verbiage, explaining how
it is they can post this image.  I am not aware of any copyright
owners protesting such use by Wikipedia.

2.  Anyone with an interest can create a page at Wikipedia.  The basic
steps for getting started are here:

Even though they speak of 'editing' pages, they are also including the
process of creating brand new pages.

I'm mentioning this because you could, if you chose, create your
semiotics page -- or portions of it -- as a Wikipedia entry, complete
with images that you post under their fair use guidelines.

Of course, you could also use similar guidelines at your own website. 
But be aware that one person's 'fair use' is another person's
infringement, so I certainly suggest caution in going the fair use
route, either at Wikipedia or elsewhere...there's simply no bright
line between what uses are legitimate and which ones aren't.  However,
I did want to at least mention the possibility.

Well, I hope this information fully meets your needs.  But if there's
anything else I can do for you, just let me know by posting a Request
for Clarification, and I'm at your service.

Best of luck,


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for photo sources, along with
Google and Google Image searches on:

"meet the beatles" 

"meet the beatles" freeman

"with the beatles" freeman
grgxl5-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Great answer. Very useful. Thanks!

Subject: Re: Beatles Copyright Images
From: pafalafa-ga on 08 May 2006 16:47 PDT

Thank you kindly...hope to get to see your animation one of these days.


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