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billdotson
December 25th, 2007, 10:54 PM
Not that it matters much, but I was just curious. Say for instance a screenshot of a game, or photo of a landscape you find via an image search.

nalmeth
December 25th, 2007, 11:00 PM
I think that falls under fair use. Its usually the distribution of such content that is "illegal". The persons hosting the image you downloaded would be in violation.

Of course it isn't black and white, you have to consider the license under which the material is copyrighted.

Kosimo
December 25th, 2007, 11:03 PM
Actually is even illegal to watch them!
Everything is illegal! We shouldn't even say the name of some brand like HP, or Dell!


Evil is here watching and listening us

fatality_uk
December 25th, 2007, 11:08 PM
As such, "Copyright" only pertains to the creative ownership of the item in question. I.E. I created this image and I have the right to dictate how any copies shall be used. It does not refer to re-distribution of the item. That is usually dealt with in addendum's to any licensing or distribution agreement. Usually, a web site will have, somewhere, in small print, use of images rules. Usually this says something like "ALL IMAGES FOUND WITHIN WWW.MYWEBSITE.COM ARE COPYRIGHT ABC INC. NO COPYING, RE-DISTRIBUTION" etc. etc.

Check there first to make sure that you can legally use that image for personal use. I'd say 85% of the time there is a clause which will allow images to be held by an individual for personal use.

maleficent
December 25th, 2007, 11:16 PM
I don't know enough about other countries copyright laws, but in the UK it is not illegal to privately use legally obtained copyrighted material as you see fit, only distribution is prohibited.

In short, using a copyrighted image as wallpaper would be legal, but posting screenshots of your desktop with copyrighted wallpaper would be technically illegal.

fatality_uk
December 25th, 2007, 11:30 PM
maleficent, it does actually depends on the terms of the agreement.


In short, using a copyrighted image as wallpaper would be legal

Not quite right. ONLY if the CopyRight holder has given express permission that the image can be used without payment for personal use. Technically that act of putting a copyright symbol next to or on an image gives the holder license. If they then expressly permit personal use, that's ok, if not, then any image that has a symbol is owned by the holder until you have been given license to use it.

maleficent
December 25th, 2007, 11:49 PM
Fair dealing includes any kind of research (private use still), and you can argue pretty much anything is research...

edit: or criticism or review for that matter. ;)

So, a better 'in short', would be that it's unquestionably legal if the copyright holder has explicitly allowed personal use, and questionably legal if they haven't (it would be exceedingly difficult to successfully prosecute an individual for any private use of legally obtained copyrighted material thanks to fair dealing).

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:02 AM
Fair dealing includes any kind of research (private use still), and you can argue pretty much anything is research...

But clearly the question was related to personal use, NOT research.

From this site:

The actual specifics of what is acceptable will be governed by national laws, and although broadly similar, actual provision will vary from country to country.

Cases dealing with fair dealing can be complex, as decisions are based on individual circumstances and judgements. This can be a very difficult area of copyright law.

To avoid problems, if you are in any doubt, you are advised to always get the permission of the owner, prior to use.
http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p09_fair_use

Copyright law is a NIGHTMARE. It's one of the few areas of law in which legal precedent can seemingly hold no bearing on the result of a case.

Always best to check, check and check again! technically, it is against the law to use the copyrighted image for personal use without consent. Having said all that :) unless he BLOGS his desktop, who's gonna know :KS

LaRoza
December 26th, 2007, 12:04 AM
Having said all that :) unless he BLOGS his desktop, who's gonna know :KS

Or care?

If you feel like you should, you can let the artist know. Artists rarely make art for their own personal use and you are not depriving the artist of anything.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:14 AM
Or care?

If you feel like you should, you can let the artist know. Artists rarely make art for their own personal use and you are not depriving the artist of anything.


Or care? I presume billdotson!! :D
Couldn't disagree more. I used to sell my photos of Cumbrian fells from a web site a few years ago. While I didn't need to make a living from them, there were a few guys on there that did. If everyone could see the photos full size and download them to use as they wish, while there would be some who pay the fee to use them, a lot of that guys income stream, his business would be wiped out.

These weren't celeb photographers making 3,000 a day. The photos usually sold for 4 as a digital download and about 15.

LaRoza
December 26th, 2007, 12:20 AM
Couldn't disagree more. I used to sell my photos of Cumbrian fells from a web site a few years ago. While I didn't need to make a living from them, there were a few guys on there that did. If everyone could see the photos full size and download them to use as they wish, while there would be some who pay the fee to use them, a lot of that guys income stream, his business would be wiped out.

These weren't celeb photographers making 3,000 a day. The photos usually sold for 4 as a digital download and about 15.

I was assuming the image was from a web site and just copied, not pirated (if that is the word).

One can copy images from web sites easily but there are not always in the public domain. There was a thread here of a member who posted an piece of very good artwork and I liked it, so I saved the image so I could look at it later again.

If I used that in a web page or posted it myself, I would definately need permission from that member, but having on my disk when I could legally view it for free is not illegal. I could display it on my desktop.

I don't know the nature of the picture in question, but that was what I imagined it to be.

My assumption was that this image was from a web page where it could be viewed.

maleficent
December 26th, 2007, 12:30 AM
Interestingly, provided private use was explicitly granted (or you've successfully argued fair use), blogging or screenshots of the desktop may qualify as incidental inclusion.

I realise the original question was not asked in the context of fair use, but I thought I'd mention you can argue private use of pretty much anything under fair use/dealing regardless of explicit permission; it's not explicitly illegal if that is your argument, and would require a court decision to deem it so (review is probably the strongest argument for private use of a copyrighted image as wallpaper without explicit permission).

Of course, I strongly believe that copyright law shouldn't apply to individuals at all (with the qualifier that if you're making money out of it, you're a business). Sadly, I feel things are more likely to change in the opposite direction that for that to happen.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:33 AM
There was a thread here of a member who posted an piece of very good artwork and I liked it, so I saved the image so I could look at it later again.

If I used that in a web page or posted it myself, I would definately need permission from that member, but having on my disk when I could legally view it for free is not illegal. I could display it on my desktop.

Not looking for a flame war but, your statement is mis-leading. The public domain arguement is OK, but the question was about the technicality of using copyrighted material. If using your example, the artwork had the copyright logo and authors name on it, technically, you would have to have permission to use that image in anyway.

I am not a lawyer, but we have a legal dept and this does come up a lot. We have a lot of promotional material related to the drinks industry. If I take a photo of a bottle of Coke, that's my photo to do with as I wish. If I use a copyrighted photo of a bottle of from a web site, which is almost identical, but has been copyrighted, I need permission to use it.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:35 AM
Interestingly, provided private use was explicitly granted Full stop. No need to go further :D
case closed ;)

maleficent
December 26th, 2007, 12:38 AM
*grins* I do get carried away with these things, last paragraph of previous post is why. ;)

p_quarles
December 26th, 2007, 12:42 AM
@fatality_uk: The legal department at your place of work isn't dealing with issues related to private usage. If you were to place on a photo on your work desktop without the author's permission, you would be violating the author's copyright. Doing so at home, though, is a different case. The exact laws are going to vary from place to place, but I would assume that most courts would dismiss any suit brought against someone for private home usage of copyrighted material. EDIT: That is, provided that no laws were violated in the process of acquiring the material.

Also, the presence or absence of a copyright notice on a work does not change its legal status. As I understand it, the creator of a work is entitled to all rights unless he or she explicitly distributes it under a more liberal license.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:42 AM
*grins* I do get carried away with these things, last paragraph of previous post is why. ;)

Got ya! :lolflag:

It's like speeding. We ALL DO IT. Intentionally or otherwise.
3mph over the limit is technically as illegal as 35mph over the limit. Now the question of which is worse? That's another matter! :)

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:43 AM
Also, the presence or absence of a copyright notice on a work does not change its legal status. As I understand it, the creator of a work is entitled to all rights unless he or she explicitly distributes it under a more liberal license.

Which is what I said :)

LaRoza
December 26th, 2007, 12:44 AM
Not looking for a flame war but, your statement is mis-leading. The public domain arguement is OK, but the question was about the technicality of using copyrighted material. If using your example, the artwork had the copyright logo and authors name on it, technically, you would have to have permission to use that image in anyway.

I am not a lawyer, but we have a legal dept and this does come up a lot. We have a lot of promotional material related to the drinks industry. If I take a photo of a bottle of Coke, that's my photo to do with as I wish. If I use a copyrighted photo of a bottle of from a web site, which is almost identical, but has been copyrighted, I need permission to use it.

I didn't mean to be misleading. When you load a page, the browser downloads and stores the image on your hard disk. That image stays there unless you clear the cache.

So my statement about viewing images legally on a web page then saving them (without distributing or doing anything besides looking at them) has to be legal because that is the only way the browser can view it.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:49 AM
I didn't mean to be misleading. When you load a page, the browser downloads and stores the image on your hard disk. That image stays there unless you clear the cache.

So my statement about viewing images legally on a web page then saving them (without distributing or doing anything besides looking at them) has to be legal because that is the only way the browser can view it.


then saving them

That's the part you have to be careful with. A browser cache is passive. Images are downloaded to your PC as part of the action of visiting a site, to look at a nice photo for instance and possibly to make a purchase of a photo. But if you trawl through your cache to find an image and then use it as your desktop, you are actively acquiring that image! See what I mean?

p_quarles
December 26th, 2007, 12:55 AM
Which is what I said :)
I was specifically referring to this:

If using your example, the artwork had the copyright logo and authors name on it, technically, you would have to have permission to use that image in anyway.
My point being simply that the copyright notice need not be present.

Also, many fair use situations have repeatedly been upheld by various courts. In the U.S., certain fair uses are actually guaranteed by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Commentary, for instance, is considered fair use. This can get really complicated, but generally speaking you don't need permission to use a work for purposes such as parody, critique, or editorialization. This is limited, though, to using only as much of the copyrighted work as is necessary.

LaRoza
December 26th, 2007, 12:56 AM
That's the part you have to be careful with. A browser cache is passive. Images are downloaded to your PC as part of the action of visiting a site, to look at a nice photo for instance and possibly to make a purchase of a photo. But if you trawl through your cache to find an image and then use it as your desktop, you are actively acquiring that image! See what I mean?

No.

What about thumbails generated? Are they illegal?

Do I have restricted areas on my hard disk, that I am not allowed to look?

maleficent
December 26th, 2007, 12:56 AM
Heh, that's an argument I've always wanted to see a court decision on, with both sides succinctly put. :)

edit: this thread is going too fast for me, this is in reply to post #20 ;)

popch
December 26th, 2007, 12:57 AM
... A browser cache is passive. Images are downloaded to your PC as part of the action of visiting a site, to look at a nice photo for instance and possibly to make a purchase of a photo. But if you trawl through your cache to find an image and then use it as your desktop, you are actively acquiring that image! See what I mean?

You can browse an image if it has been placed in the internet. That makes it publicly visible. Hence, it can be looked at with a browser, again and again, thanks to the cache.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 12:57 AM
Night all :)

LaRoza
December 26th, 2007, 12:57 AM
Heh, that's an argument I've always wanted to see a court decision on, with both sides succinctly put. :)

p_quarles v. LaRoza, 200 US 199 (2007)

p_quarles
December 26th, 2007, 01:00 AM
p_quarles v. LaRoza, 200 US 199 (2007)
Hey! The judge said that case was sealed. :D

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 01:14 AM
Posted from laptop in nice warm bed :lolflag:


LMAO - Just because you want something to be the case doesn't mean it is!!!

I'll leave you with this thought! If copyright and copyright law is as meaningless as you seem to want it to be, why does EVERY major corporation in the WORLD have VERY high paid lawyers on standby to defend copyright breaches??? Err cos they are defending the work they have created.

Another tip. If your using Firefox, click help->About Mozilla Firefox. Ohh what's that???? A copyright notice....

What's that on the horizon? Oh yeah, its the question initially asked :lolflag:

p_quarles
December 26th, 2007, 01:36 AM
Posted from laptop in nice warm bed


LMAO - Just because you want something to be the case doesn't mean it is!!!

I'll leave you with this thought! If copyright and copyright law is as meaningless as you seem to want it to be, why does EVERY major corporation in the WORLD have VERY high paid lawyers on standby to defend copyright breaches??? Err cos they are defending the work they have created.

Another tip. If your using Firefox, click help->About Mozilla Firefox. Ohh what's that???? A copyright notice....

What's that on the horizon? Oh yeah, its the question initially asked
Not sure who that was addressed to, but no one is saying copyright law is meaningless. Simply that copyright law is more complex with regard to fair use than you want to acknowledge.

And again: corporations are fundamentally different kinds of entities from private persons. Most kinds of private use fall under fair use. Very few things that a for-profit corporation would do would ever be considered fair use.

And seriously: do you honestly think anyone here is unaware that Mozilla's license constitutes a copyright? Of course it does. So does the GPL, the BSD License, the Apache license, Creative Commons licenses, and any of the other so-called "copylefts."

Dimitriid
December 26th, 2007, 01:49 AM
Only if you view it directly, you could use a series of mirrors to look into your monitor and it would be legal, provided your mirrors are not WGA certified.

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Simply that copyright law is more complex with regard to fair use than you want to acknowledge.

Which is the point I initially made. Copyright law is horrendous. All your additions of "fair use" etc don't change the fact, that base law stands. Copyright can be upheld by an individual, it's just that 99% of the time they don't have the funds to fight such a case.

The original question asked "is it technically illegal to use copyrighted pictures for background on your desktop?" and the simple answer is, without permission yes. But there are so many variables to how it is used, when and by whom for what purpose.

Samhain13
December 26th, 2007, 03:05 PM
I have a silly question regarding this issue:


Check there first to make sure that you can legally use that image for personal use. I'd say 85% of the time there is a clause which will allow images to be held by an individual for personal use.

In the instances that the section in bold is to the contrary, i.e. the owner doesn't allow their images to be held by an individual. Do they even have a case when confronted with the fact that most, if not all, graphical browsers by default cache images? Or can these owners take browser makers to court for copyright or other similar infringement?

fatality_uk
December 26th, 2007, 03:27 PM
:lolflag: God only knows ;)
Maybe this will help explain

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/l/legal_fees.asp

Samhain13
December 26th, 2007, 03:40 PM
:lolflag:

Superdelphinus
January 10th, 2008, 12:16 AM
just as a little caveat - the c symbol (i don;t know how to do it on this keyboard) doesn't actually 'make' something copyrighted. copyright flows from creation naturally. Usually people will put the symbol in to signify that they are prepared to pursue copyright claims.

Oh and also to be typically pedantic and lawyerly about this - technically it would be unlawful rather than illegal!