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alevinemi

Copyright of newspaper photograph

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I created an artwork, which is registered as my copyright.  A local newspaper photographed it and used it in the print edition of their paper, which is fair use.

 

However, can I use a scanned copy of that photo on social media, or do I need to buy it from the newspaper?  Is it fair use to use someone else's photo of your work?

 

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Let's start with your conclusion that the newspaper's copyright was fair use.  Without any context, I cannot know if that conclusion is correct; not every use of a copyright protected work by a newspaper is fair use.  If, for example, it wasn't fair use, then the photo could not be protected by copyright law, and you could use it freely.

 

However, if we assume the newspaper's photo was protected by copyright, then the question becomes whether the photograph is nothing more than an exact duplicate of your artwork** or whether the photograph adds something that is, itself, protectable by copyright.  If the photo is nothing more than exact duplicate, then you wouldn't need permission to use the photo.  If the photo adds something, then you would need permission (of course, that a strict application of the law might require that you get permission doesn't necessarily mean that the newspaper would treat the situation that way -- or vice versa).

 

** You didn't describe the artwork (e.g., whether it's a painting a sculpture or something else).  Obviously, a photograph can't an "exact duplicate" of a three dimensional artwork, but it could essentially be a two dimensional reproduction that adds nothing new.

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34 minutes ago, alevinemi said:

It also doesn't really matter if the paper s use is fair - I have no intention of complaining about free publicity.

 

I figured as much, but whether or not it's fair use does impact the rest of the analysis.

 

 

34 minutes ago, alevinemi said:

I don't think it qualifies as a duplicate - it's cropped and 2D.

 

The point of the ** paragraph in my prior response was to explain that a photograph (which can only be 2D) could still effectively be an "exact duplicate" of a 3D work.  It's hard to tell in the abstract.

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