You are here:

Copyright & Patents/Google images copyright infringement?

Advertisement


Question
Hi!

I'm not sure if this question comes into your area of expertise but I'm about to self-publish an ebook, and created my own cover using photoshop and Flash CS3. Although it started off as a drawing, I used a collage of google images to turn my drawing into a more realistic image (creating a robotic hand out of car pieces and futuristic android artwork on google, and also using a glass jar from one image, and a bee from another). As a whole the resulting collage is completely different from the original images, but I was wondering if any of this would count as copyright infringement?

Thanks!
Juliette

Answer
As far as I understand Google images, you may infringe copyrights by using them.
Generally speaking you are not allowed to use copyrighted images, even if you change them. In fact, by changing an image in a way the copyright owner would not agree with, you infringe the "moral right" of the copyright owner, which is a strong right that never expires.
So, although I am not really a copyright expert, and certainly not an expert in US copyright, I am quite certain that this answer is correct.

In other words:
If any of the images you want to use can still be recognized by the copyright owner, I would not use them without permission. But if even the copyright owner would not recognize the pictures in the form you want to use them, there is no infringement in my opinion.

Rene Hasekamp.

Copyright & Patents

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Rene Hasekamp

Expertise

I can answer questions about European patent law and practice. My experience mainly lies in the Dutch patent practice. I am not familiar with other patent systems than the European and Dutch systems, although I am familiar with general issues regarding patents. Please don`t ask me questions, specific for US patent law or any other non-European patent law.

Experience

I have been a patent examiner in the Netherlands Patent Office for 35 years. Now I am retired. I have been a deputy judge for patent cases in The Hague's District Court from January 1991 until June 2011.

Education/Credentials
I graduated in Chemistry and Law at Leiden University. I have worked in the Netherlands Patent Office as an examiner for 35 years until my retirement in 2003. I was appointed as a honorary deputy judge for patent cases in 1991. After my retirement I still work at a few cases on patent law in The Hague District Court.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.