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Graphic Design/Collage and Copyright


I make posters/collages sometimes incorporating other's images.  These images are cropped or colorized or altered and combined with text.  Does it infringe on other's copyrights?  For example, I might find an old woodcut image from a medical textbook and combine it with the Mona Lisa's left eye.  Do I need to obtain rights to these images?  Where do I draw the line?  How can I know what is fair use and what is improper?

Thanks for you help.


Although I am not an attorney, I believe it depends on how old the copyright date is and if it has expired or is part of public domain.

You may want to contact the Graphic Artists Guild at the site below. I believe they would be able to give you the correct info.

Good luck!


Graphic Design

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Saul Fineman


As a freelance graphic designer/marketing consultant for over 25 years, I have extensive experience in branding, marketing, and the conceptualization and production of all types of printed materials. This would include everything from logo design, packaging, ads, collateral, exhibit booth design, and much more. I also work on web site design conceptualization (but not the technical implementation). I have been an avid user of all things Mac since 1985 and work with programs such as Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, etc...


In the mid 1980's through the early 90's, I worked in the field of advertising, marketing, and graphic design as president of an advertising/graphic design boutique with 13 employees. For the past 17 years, I have been freelancing from my home and have a consortium of experts that I work with in a "virtual" advertising agency. I am basically the creative director within this agency which includes copy writers, marketing experts, photographers, web designers and coders, as well as videographers, musicians and recording engineers.

Organizations, LinkedIn, Southern California Masonic Lodge No. 529, Lecturer-USC Annenberg School of Communications, El Segundo Chamber of Commerce


BFA, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA 1978

Awards and Honors
2007 and 2008 Pollie Award-Gold Award for Direct Mail-American Association of Political Consultants, twice awarded designer of the month at

Past/Present Clients
MGM, 20th Century Fox, Democratic National Committee, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Hanjin Shipping, Leiner Pharmaceuticals, Ritter Natural Sciences, Los Angeles Public Library System, Full Circle Opera Project, Dead On Tools, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

©2017 All rights reserved.

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