Future legal problems

Asked over 1 year ago - Brooklyn, NY

I have downloaded pictures from an internet site and it said :

License: Public Domain Dedication "You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission."

Am I free to use these pictures on my Facebook page or on a book cover or anywhere else ?

Thank you for your reply

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
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    Answered . There are two reasons why you should NOT rely on the blurb you quote as permission to freely copy and display the photographs published on that website.

    First, you have NO basis on which to conclude that the website owner has the right to either dedicate the photographs to the public domain or to convey the license that it does via that blurb. There are MILLIONS of websites that publish photographs they have no legal right to publish. And even unsophisticated copyright owners know to use the words “public domain” or to affix a copyright notice to their works and then use a Creative Commons license process to grant others the right to use their works. The use of the rinky-dink blurb that you quote should RAISE your suspicions, not give you a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Second, the owner of the copyright in a photograph has the exclusive right to:
    (1) reproduce the photograph,
    (2) make derivative works based on the photograph,
    (3) distribute the photograph, and
    (4) display the photograph publicly.

    The copyright license that the blurb you quote grants does NOT include the right for others to DISPLAY the photographs – which you would be doing if you published the photographs via ‘Facebook page or on a book cover or anywhere else.” Any such display by you would be outside this rinky-dink license.

    Do not copy or publish the photographs you see on that website. Have your own copyright attorney check it out first.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  2. Sreenivasarao Vepachedu

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Yes, if it is really in the public domain by dedication by the real copyright owner.

    This is not a legal advice or solicitation, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consult with an... more
  3. Brian Kenneth Dinicola

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The owner of a copyrighted work is certainly entitled to place it into the public domain, and it appears that the owner has done just that. Looks like a green light, assuming that the person making the pictures available is true owner of them.

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