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Old February 14th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #1
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Copyrighted Pictures

Another copyright question. I know from your comments that ANYTHING recorded by anyone else is copyrighted--even if it's on YouTube.

But what about filming someone reading a story book to kids? I know the book is copyrighted, but would it be a copyright infringement to READ to book, show the pictures, etc. to a group of kids in a "story time" setting?

As a follow-up to that, how about this example: A video recorded talk to a group of kids (not reading anything) about firefighters. Would it be okay to use some copyrighted still photos and/or posters of firemen, firetrucks, fires, etc.?

Specifically, "These letters on top of this firefighters hat say NYFD, which stands for New York Fire Department....." [Pointing at the letters on the poster] etc. etc.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:00 AM   #2
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I am not a lawyer but my educated guess is not. Copyright is copyright, whether it's music or print, video or still images. Something like the NYFD logo wouldn't be copyright - logos, brandnames, etc aren't copyrightable - but it would be trademarked and would need their permission to use them. Something like just the letters 'NYFD' might squeek through but the actual logo itself would be another story. Still photos, posters, etc most certainly would be copyright and using them in the video would be just like copying them in any other medium.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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Yes, it is copyright infringement to 'read' a copywritten book onto a video. I can no more videotape my reading of "The Firm" and sell or distribute it, anymore than I can audiotape it. Same is true for children's books and poetry.

As to using photos, same thing applies. If you know the copyright holder you can ask permission.

There are some exceptions for documentary work, classroom use, news reports, etc. But you are going to have to do more research, and probably talk to a lawyer.

(Some children's stories are in the public domain - Mother Goose for instance, however, the particular BOOK that you might be reading from, and the photos from it ARE copyrighted by the publisher. Like classical music)
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
Would it be okay to use some copyrighted still photos and/or posters of firemen, firetrucks, fires, etc.?
You just answered your question. The COPYRIGHTED photos aren't yours to use without permission. That's why they're copyrighted.

Would it be okay for a third party to show your finished DVD to a paying audience without your permission, knowledge or without compensating you?
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Here is a link to the US federal government copyright office. good information here
http://www.copyright.gov/
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
You just answered your question. The COPYRIGHTED photos aren't yours to use without permission. That's why they're copyrighted.

Would it be okay for a third party to show your finished DVD to a paying audience without your permission, knowledge or without compensating you?
Not the same thing.

The angle I was looking at it was I wouldn't be reproducing the book and selling the book. Agreed--that's not a strong argument since the combination of words in that order comprise the book, whether aloud or in black and white.

However, with the copyrighted poster of a firetruck, I wouldn't be copying and reproducing a 24"x36" poster, but a video with the image used as a conversational piece. This isn't much different than you using your Honda Civic as a conversational piece in video. It too is patented, "copyrighted" in the sense it can't be copied, logo trademarked, etc. Just like you wouldn't be reproducing the actual car while filming, neither would you be reproducing the actual poster.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #7
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Lloyd, your not allowed to profit in any way from a copyright item. if you want to make a home movie using the book, you should be ok. If you sell so much as one copy of the video, you would be in violation of federal copyright infringement laws if you quote any section of the book, or show a single picture from it without permission. you would also be open to a civil claim for illegally using the images or phrases, as well as legal fees and damages. what you are asking about is clearly in violation of the law. I suggest you open the link I posted to the federal government copyright website, and read it. there are no gray areas here, it is simply against the law.
I recently needed to show a piece of starburst candy, and mention the name, in an instructional video. I contacted them for permission, and was told in no uncertain terms I am not allowed, and they would pursue action if they found out I used it. it was a polite, to the point, clear, concise, legal no.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
This isn't much different than you using your Honda Civic as a conversational piece in video. It too is patented, "copyrighted" in the sense it can't be copied, logo trademarked, etc.
The laws defining patents and copyrights are INCREDIBLY different. You can't lump the two together. Call and speak with the publisher, offer them the free publicity. Get permission! Then you don't have to give your house to a publisher who caught you in clear violation of copyright laws, and sued you into bankruptcy. It really can be that bad if you're not careful. Enlist the services of a lawyer, either way, to make sure you are 100% legal.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Allen Plowman View Post
Lloyd, your not allowed to profit in any way from a copyright item. if you want to make a home movie using the book, you should be ok. If you sell so much as one copy of the video, you would be in violation of federal copyright infringement laws if you quote any section of the book, or show a single picture from it without permission. you would also be open to a civil claim for illegally using the images or phrases, as well as legal fees and damages. what you are asking about is clearly in violation of the law. I suggest you open the link I posted to the federal government copyright website, and read it. there are no gray areas here, it is simply against the law.
Thanks Allen.

From what you said above, how could quoting from someone's book even border on copyright infringement? You see quotes from other people's books in other books all the time. Not just books, but talk radio does it all the time and clearly (pun) Clear Channel Communications is not a non-profit 501c3.

You mean to say that if I was selling Widget X and my competitor was selling Widget Y, I couldn't quote from his copyrighted written material and state "even on page 33 of their book 'Why Y Widgets?' Company Y says 'our product will not work underwater, so please no scuba-diving with it. Sorry.' That's why you need to buy Widget X since you can go swim with it on everyday with no probs..."

Stupid example, but you see what I mean... What do you think?
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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Lloyd, live broadcasts, news reporters, and live performances are under different laws. I can start a band, and play live performances of famous bands. I can keep all the money, and pay no royalties. If i make so much as a demo cd of the music to send to venues to listen to my sound, i would be in violation of copyright laws. I can perform live, but not record and sell it. I couldn't use pictures of the albums or groups from the songs I play, without permission. your being told the laws, if you don't believe the people here trying to help you, contact a lawyer that specializes in this type of thing.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Allen Plowman View Post
Lloyd, live broadcasts, news reporters, and live performances are under different laws. I can start a band, and play live performances of famous bands. I can keep all the money, and pay no royalties. If i make so much as a demo cd of the music to send to venues to listen to my sound, i would be in violation of copyright laws. I can perform live, but not record and sell it. I couldn't use pictures of the albums or groups from the songs I play, without permission. your being told the laws, if you don't believe the people here trying to help you, contact a lawyer that specializes in this type of thing.
Fascinating! I never would have suspected this. That's why I'm asking the "but what if" questions...

Sorry for another one, but if you're recording a video that you're going to sell on DVD later and you happen to walk by some wall copyrighted mural during a on-street recording, and then one of those large billboard-/ad-truck displaying a Harry Potter book happens to drive by and get in the shot, would or could that too pose a copyright infringement problem?

I know this is maybe farfetched, but I have been surprised a couple times already, so I want to see how far copyright laws really can go.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #12
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Lloyd, that happens, and is fairly easy. in post, during editing, you cover up the unexpected drive by advertising. mask it, blur it, remove it completely, depending on what it is.
I sell instructional videos. I started out selling them on ebay. before I had sold my 100th video, an ebay buyer purchased one of each of my videos. the person was representing a law firm looking for copyright violations, hoping they could get business if they found anything. had we used a song for an intro, a picture, anything, they would have found it. I have nothing in my videos that are not legally mine to use, all pictures, sounds, etc. I do not show brand names, or mention any names. and I hope others also follow the law, and do not steal any of my images, sounds, etc.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Allen Plowman View Post
Lloyd, that happens, and is fairly easy. in post, during editing, you cover up the unexpected drive by advertising. mask it, blur it, remove it completely, depending on what it is.
I sell instructional videos. I started out selling them on ebay. before I had sold my 100th video, an ebay buyer purchased one of each of my videos. the person was representing a law firm looking for copyright violations, hoping they could get business if they found anything. had we used a song for an intro, a picture, anything, they would have found it. I have nothing in my videos that are not legally mine to use, all pictures, sounds, etc. I do not show brand names, or mention any names. and I hope others also follow the law, and do not steal any of my images, sounds, etc.
Thanks again! That's probably the best policy to have. I guess this is where the phrase comes in, "When in doubt, leave it out?"

Thanks for your help. That makes sense.

Incredible story about the lawyer buying your product on Ebay! BTW, how did you find out it was a laywer searching for a lawsuit? Just curious.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #14
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If you are familiar with ebay, they have what they call a "me" page associated with the name. they have a description of themselves on that page. it clearly stated that the purpose of the buying was to look for copyright violations, as well as bootleg, fake, counterfeit items, etc.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #15
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Lloyd,

If you are really interested in Copyright, Trademark and Patent Law - then go take a couple of courses at the University.

All of the topics you bring up have been brought up in various threads. We are fortunate to have an IP Attorney, Paul Tauger - who occasionally weighs in with professional comments on general topics (But NEVER specific legal advice). Do a thorough search with the word copyright or trademark or the term 'fair use' on this forum, and spend an evening reading them - most of your questions have already been covered.

As mentioned, documentaries and news productions fall under different considerations than others. "Fair Use" is NOT a clearly defined specific parameter IE "Ten seconds, five lines etc." - "Incidental Reproduction" and Parody is another issue to be considered. It's a deep, deep subject. I'm married to an IP attorney, and she is constantly explaining to people (Her clients, or her adversaries) why they can't simply make a copy or 'read these lines' on tape without getting permission.

Look at the back of a book, or read the end credits to a film VERY carefully, and you will see "Lines of the Poem used by permission from SoAndSo" "Footage from the film XYZ used with permission from Paramount" "Pictures of ELVIS used with permission from his estate" - it really is cleared before it's used.

Come to think of it, you might just do a search for Paul's name, and read ALL his posts, so you seperate the wheat from the chaffe.
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