Images of Art and People
Images may involve many rights:
- Copyright in photograph
- Copyright in subject
- Trademarks in subject
- Personality rights if people are depicted
Images of art are an important element in many courses of instruction
and images of art are popular subjects for multimedia works.
Photographs of art
If you are interested in using photographs of art, it is important
to consider that there may be a copyright in the photograph as well
as a copyright in the artwork depicted in the photograph. If both
works are still protected by copyright and your use requires permission,
you may need to seek permission from both the owner of the rights
in the photograph and the owner of the rights in the art.
If the subject of a photograph is in the public domain, can the
photograph be digitized and used freely? Possibly, but you do not
assume that to be the case.
Example: A painting by Monet
The original painting is in Public Domain, the photograph may be
covered by copyright
Although copyright in an original artwork may have expired, the
owner of the physical copy of the work may control access to the
work and control how images of the work may be used. For example,
a museum may not allow the general public to photograph paintings
in its collection and may own the copyrights in the photographs
it authorizes and as such, would have the exclusive right to allow
derivatives or other adaptations of the photograph.
Guidelines for the acquisition and use of images in non-profit
educational visual resources collections have been developed by
the Visual Resources Association and may be helpful if you are
planning to use images of art in your course or project.
Subject matter of photographs may also include company names or
logos and these should be used carefully. Even if you took the photo
yourself, if you use an image on your web site that shows a company
logo or trademark, this may imply a relationship between you and
the company that does not exist. You may want to visit the getting
started section for further discussion on trademark and other intellectual
property rights issues.
Individuals have a right to control how their image, likeness, name,
voice or other identifying characteristics are used. If you wish
to use photographs of people, you may need to obtain a release to
use their image. Personality rights [2A5] are discussed further
in the getting started section. Washington State Law governing personality
rights is discussed in the information section.