Q:

How do you legally use free construction pictures on advertising material?

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Quick Answer

To legally use construction pictures for advertising material, determine whether the pictures have copyright protection or are in the public domain, identify the owner of the pictures, and ask for permission to use them, suggests Stanford University Libraries. Specify what you plan to use the pictures for and what rights you need. If the owner allows you to use the pictures for free, get the agreement in writing.

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Full Answer

Copyright law protects intellectual properties such as pictures as soon as photographers or artists create them, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. Assume that any creative work published after 1922 has copyright protection but that older works may be in the public domain and freely usable, recommends Stanford University Libraries. If you are unsure, the only way to use the pictures legally is to locate the owner and ask. A copyright notice accompanying the pictures may specify the owner, which could be the photographer or the advertising company that commissioned the pictures.

Contact the owner directly if possible, instructs the U.S. Copyright Office. If you cannot identify the owner, conduct a copyright search at the U.S. Copyright Office or online on its website. Copyright owners may allow free permission for nonprofit or educational purposes, but for other uses, they may require fees, according to Stanford University Libraries. Free use or amount of payment depends on how large your audience is, how long you plan to use the pictures and the purpose for which you plan to use them. Only a written agreement to use copyrighted material is legally binding.

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