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Referencing redrawn images

Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:46 pm
by arctic

I am writing a thesis and have two questions about referencing redrawn images...

1. I will use one image from an article, which is a photo of a body part. I have redrawn this image in photoshop. The new image still represents the original information from the original photo, but obviously it looks different than the latter. The photo represents some parameters about body morphology that are quite commonly studied.

2. Some other images that I have redrawn are from an anatomy atlas. Even if my images are only shapes with no color and less details than the originals, it is quite obvious that the redrawn images are from that specific atlas.

My question is: do I need to get permissions to use the redrawn images in both 1. and 2. case through PLSClear or Copyright Clearance Center and add the Copyright notice below the image, or it is enough that I mention the source from where I've got the idea for the image?

Thanks in advance,

have a good day :)

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:11 am
by AndyJ
Hi arctic,

The answer depends on where you live. You spelt the word 'color' the American way which makes me wonder if you are based in the USA. Since i don't know for sure I will cover this from both the UK and US perspective.

Under UK law the thesis you have written would be covered by the fair dealing exception for research and private study and so you do not need permission to create and use the adaptations, just credit the original source. You could do this with a footnote or endnnote. It is probable that the exception for educational instruction would also apply, since I assume this thesis is connected to a degree or PhD or something similar. If you intend to publish your thesis at some later date, that would be the time to get copyright clearance.

Here you can take advantage of the US Fair Use provisions, which like the UK, cover exceptions for the purpose of education and academic research. In particular fair use includes a concept known as transformative use which would undoubtedly apply here. In theory publishing your thesis commercially at a later stage would slightly alter the evaluation of the four factors used in determining fair use, but I think that on balance your use of these images would not in any way damage the commercial value of the originals, and so you can discount that. Unlike the UK's fair dealing, fair use does not require acknowledgement of the source, although I think that in view of the scholarly nature of the work it would be appropriate to cite them anyway to avoid any suggestion of plagiarism.
I should mention for the sake of completeness that under §106A(a)(2) of the Copyright Act 1976 the author of a work of visual art has the right not to have his/her name attached to any distortion or mutilation of his work. I'm not sure if transforming these images into line drawings would amount to distortion or mutilation (in a legal argument), but if you merely cite the article or atlas title you would not be attaching the artist/photographer's name so this provision won't apply.

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:01 pm
by arctic
Hello AndyJ,

thanks for your quick response.

I live in Slovenia. Do you know if the laws regarding my situation differ among the EU countries? Are they different between the EU and the UK?

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:42 pm
by AndyJ
Hi arctic,

Coincidentally we had another question concerning Slovenian copyright law last week. As I said then I know very little about the subject and so it would be better to get some advice from a lawyer in your country. However before doing so, you can read what the Zakon o avtorski in sorodnih pravicah (kot je bil spremenjen 22. oktobra 2016) (Slovenian Copyright law of 22 October 2016) says on the subject. Look in particular at Articles 50 and 53. It appears that Slovenian copyright law does not provide the same broad exception for research and education found in UK law, but that may be because the English translation I used was is not very reliable. Since you can read the original in your own language, things may be clearer.

On the wider issue of EU copyright law, which both the UK and Slovenia are required to follow, the topic of exceptions is coverd in Article 5 of Directive 2001/29 (the Information Society Directive)(Slovenian version). As you can see the provisions contained in Article 5 sub sections (2) to (4) are not mandatory and it is up to each member state to decide whether, or to what extent, to apply them in their domestic law.

Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:31 pm
by arctic
Many thanks again AndyJ for your response!

Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:36 pm
by arctic
Hi AndyJ,

I spoke with a lawyer these days. He said, that under the Zakon o avtorskih in sorodnih pravicah(article 51), I wouldn't need to aquire permissions to use images from journals.

However, I have already obtained the permissions and would like to follow the terms and conditions of the publishers ... now, the problem is that some publishers don't allow publication of their figures in a thesis that is going to be publicly available online though the reposiotory of the university. I also obtained some figures from payable articles ...

Do you think that I might have legal problems if I disregard those licences and use all the figures I wanted to use?

Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:37 pm
by AndyJ
Hi arctic,

If the lawyer you spoke to says you are OK to use the images in your thesis without permission, I would guess that would also apply any figures you wanted to use. So if that is so - and you might want to check this with the lawyer first - then you don't need the licences. Organisations like Springer, Elsevier and the CCC aren't going to tell you you don't need a licence even though that may be the case, because they want to retain control.

Since I assume the university you are attending is also in Slovenia, the only law you need to comply with is Slovenian copyright law, and my guess is that your lawyer knows more about that than some publisher in Canada or Germany. He certainly knows 100% more than me.

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:50 am
by arctic
Hi AndyJ,

many thanks for all your help, wish you all the best,

have a good day