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Thread: Legal Question About Avatars

  1. #1
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Default Legal Question About Avatars

    You see something on the web you admire and want to use it for your avatar. So you download the picture and upload it to this site.

    You could be violating a copyright depending on whose it is. Has anyone ever complained to talkclassical that their painting or photo was used without permission? How is this handled?
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Usually* a thumbnail size of any copyrighted image is allowed under fair use. The usual limit is 125x125 pixels, which means that TC avatars would fall under fair use.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, but because of my art blog I have looked into these matters a bit more.

    * to complicate matters, TC falls under Danish copyright law, and I don't know how they handle this. Their copyright laws are different in some aspects. For instance, a straightforward photograph of an art piece like a painting (even if the piece is in the public domain) falls under copyright under Danish law, unlike most countries in the world.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I am not well versed in Danish Copyright law as it pertains to Avatar images.

    All I can tell you is that, if, and only if, we receive a court order to remove a copyrighted image/avatar we will comply and let the member account know. Administrators have the ability to quickly remove any avatar in those cases.

    That has happened only once in the past 13 years that I've been on staff here and on MIMF. I cannot say it's okay to use a copyrighted image as an avatar, but we don't go checking them either. If there is a problem, we will get notified. Worst case is that we will be forced to delete it ... but only by court order.

    What I do know about Danish Copyright Law is that it is much different than other countries ... more strict on some things, less so on others. I live in the US ... but overall, Danish Copyright Law is the ruling factor on this forum.
    Kh
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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    But can the holder of the copyright sue for money?
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Kopachris's Avatar
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    Might be a better question asked of an intellectual property lawyer.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    I did a bit more research (this link is helpful).

    Apparently, "fair use" does not exist in Danish copyright law as such, and the few exceptions listed do not include thumbnail sized images.

    So (again, I am not a lawyer) my take is that copyrighted images cannot be used on TC as avatar without prior permission of the copyright holder.

    Fortunately, my avatar is copyrighted, but I have permission.
    Last edited by Art Rock; Apr-26-2020 at 12:54.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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  11. #7
    Senior Member Caryatid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    But can the holder of the copyright sue for money?
    I'm not a lawyer either, but that seems highly unlikely. Much more typical would be for the copyright holder to request that the avatar be taken down. If it were then taken down promptly, the matter would likely end there.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    For non-commercial applications you're most likely right.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I did a bit more research (this link is helpful).

    Apparently, "fair use" does not exist in Danish copyright law as such, and the few exceptions listed do not include thumbnail sized images.

    So (again, I am not a lawyer) my take is that copyrighted images cannot be used on TC as avatar without prior permission of the copyright holder.

    Fortunately, my avatar is copyrighted, but I have permission.
    Was it hard to get permission?

    On another website with a forum I used a painting as my avatar. I wanted images of my favorite animal and these awesome paintings came up in google from the artist's website - she was selling prints.

    It was easy to download the image. Some people will mar an image so you can't use it, but just because this artist didn't do that doesn't mean she would want it used like I did. Maybe she would approve it as good publicity, maybe she would be incensed that I had used it with no monetary gain for her.

    It made me nervous, so I removed the image from my avatar after a while. I probably should have emailed the artist for permission. I'm sure 98% of people don't do that, though.

    Probably those "stock photos" that are everywhere are free to use.
    Last edited by Open Book; Apr-26-2020 at 17:51.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Was it hard to get permission?
    One kiss did the trick. The photograph was taken by my wife (who is a professional artist).

    On another website with a forum I used a painting as my avatar. I simply wanted images of my favorite animal and these awesome paintings came up in google from the artist's website - she was selling prints.

    It was easy to download an image. Some people will mar the image so you can't use it, but just because this artist didn't do that doesn't mean she would want it used like I did. Maybe she would approve it as good publicity, maybe she would be incensed that I had used it.

    It made me nervous, so I removed the image from my avatar after a while. I probably should have emailed the artist for permission. I'm sure 98% of people don't do that, though.
    I make a little money from my photographs, and I would not have minded. But indeed, better to ask before use. I've asked the people running the business side of one of the most famous living painters (Gerhard Richter) whether I could post medium sized (350 pixels) images of his work in my non-commercial art blog. They thanked me for the interest and said: no.

    Probably those "stock photos" that are everywhere are free to use.
    Stock photos are usually not free. But there are lots of sites where you can search for copyright free images. On my art blog, you can find a selection on the right hand side (heading "Public domain pics sites").
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    One kiss did the trick. The photograph was taken by my wife (who is a professional artist).
    Awwwwww.

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I make a little money from my photographs, and I would not have minded. But indeed, better to ask before use. I've asked the people running the business side of one of the most famous living painters (Gerhard Richter) whether I could post medium sized (350 pixels) images of his work in my non-commercial art blog. They thanked me for the interest and said: no.



    Stock photos are usually not free. But there are lots of sites where you can search for copyright free images. On my art blog, you can find a selection on the right hand side (heading "Public domain pics sites").
    All kinds of great info here, thanks.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Ekim the Insubordinate's Avatar
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    I asked my dog and she approved of my using her picture.

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    I've been receiving emails to my junk folder from a WAM@gmail.com, I suppose I better open it and see...
    The Brain - is wider than the Sky

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    I've been receiving emails to my junk folder from a WAM@gmail.com, I suppose I better open it and see...
    Actually, someone has taken a photograph of that Mozart painting, and that someone is the copyright holder of the image you are using according to Danish law...............
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    What about all the pictures people find on the internet and put in their posts? Are the copyright concerns the same?

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