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TIP: Copyright?

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For those of you that saw my now deleted post, I was offering a picture of an AE22 Julia Domna issue from Stobi for confirmation that it was an ancient imitation.  Upon posting, I was reviewing what I had written for errors and then I notice the picture had the website that I copied it from and that it was copyrighted!  Yikes, I deleted it.

Perhaps it is best to error safely.  Can I post such a picture legally?

Howard Cole:
Copyright has a lot of gray areas.  Fair use is one of those areas.  From my understanding, most likely you can post the picture.  Fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for educational purposes, discussion and commentary.  Since this is for the last two, most likely it is fine to post the picture.

If the owner objects, then we hit the gray area.  Do you have to remove it or not?  Again under fair use, you can not cause financial harm or use a substantial part of the copyrighted material.  As for financial harm, it has to be direct harm, like the reduction of the sell of the copyrighted material (i.e. the picture, book, poster, etc.).  As for substantial part, this is more difficult with an individual picture.  If it is one picture on a web site or in a book, than it is not a substantial part.  If it is only the image, than we have a problem, it may be okay or it may not.  This would have to be decided in a court of law.

Now if you post the picture, discuss the coin, and remove the image after the discussion, you will most likely be fine with copyright.  Of course it lowers the value of the discussion if people want to read it in the future.

Finally, it is really up to the Forum's owner to decide what is permissible and what is not.  So, I would ask Joe directly.

Howard Cole

Bill S:
I used to manage a website on which a number of people had photographs posted.  We often had to deal with issues of use of those photos for educational or commercial purposes by other groups or individuals.  General guideline on the use of copyrighted materials is that an individual copying and using them for personal use only doesn't need the permission of the copyright owner.  If you publish copyrighted items or make multiple copies for distribution, you should have the copyright holder's permission.  The copyright holder may or may not want remuniration (regardless of whether you plan to use the images for educational or commercial purposes) and will probably (but not necessarily) want credit for the photo or article posted with the photo or article.  Copyright violation does not depend on whether the copyright holder lost any potential income as a result of unauthorized use of materials.  However, loss of potential earnings can be a basis for civil actions against copyright violators.  One common misperception is that a copyrighted item must be registered as such.  At one time this was true - copyrights had to be applied for.  Current laws only require that something be published.  If I post a picture of my favorite coin, that photo is covered by copyright law from the moment of publication or posting.  

Howard Cole:

--- Quote from: Bill S on November 01, 2004, 07:53:57 pm ---I Current laws only require that something be published.  If I post a picture of my favorite coin, that photo is covered by copyright law from the moment of publication or posting.  

--- End quote ---

Bill is very much correct, but there are a few fine points that I feel he has wrong.  I have to teach copyright law in my computer classes, so I have done a lot of reading on it, including the actual laws.

First, you do not have to publish something to have it copyrighted.  It has to be in a fixed form, which is not the same as published.  If I write a song and fix it on a sheet of paper, I own the copyright to it.  I could also have sung the song and recorded it.  Now if I just sing a song, and do not fix it in some way, I have no copyright on it.

Second, the copyrighted item must show some originality and creativity.  It also must not be a derived work (based on someone else's work.)  This has been defined by court cases.

It has also been determined, again by case law, that when you look at picture on the Internet, you have made a copy of it, because it must reside inside your computer some place (temp file or in your computer's memory.)  This has brought out some interesting lawsuits and is still being tested in court, especially for the music industry.

Finally, when you use copyrighted material, under the fair use doctrine, you do not have to pay any fees for its use.  So, if I am copying a couple of charts out of a book to use in a class, I don't have to pay the publisher any thing and I don't have to ask for their permission.

Now, on the Internet, it is polite, and I feel proper, to ask before you use a picture or what ever.  Also you should always give create.

Howard Cole

Joe Sermarini:
I think this is a very interesting, important and often misunderstood subject. 

I believe almost any use of a pic on these boards is fair use for educational purposes.  We will, however, remove any pic if the owner objects. 

Fair use requires some judgement.  We ask everyone to use their best judgement.  We expect members to get permission when they might be exceeding fair use.  For example, we recently asked some dealers with fake galleries if we could post all their pics on the fake coin reports.  That was more than "fair use" so we needed to ask.  (Some said yes and some said no.)

We ask that members do not use pics or text from websites without permission if the website indicates they would not approve or that they want you to ask first. 

We do not expect members to ask permission to post individual pictures or a small number of pictures from auctions for discussion and educational purposes.  I believe this is widely accepted as fair use.   


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