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Under the U.S.'s Copyright Law, would it be an act of copyright infringement if we were to change the color of another artist's image to black and white?

The answer to this question is provided below by Scott. For further information, please check out graphicsman post, which is also provided below.

This question was asked to make it clear for those who may think that by changing the color or the size of another artist's work, you did not violate the U.S Copyright Law, which is not true.

Instead of trying to manipulate another artist's image to entitle ourselves as the "original" owner, the right and proper action is to request the permission to use it.

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Bear in mind that (a) SE cannot provide definitive legal advice; (b) copyright law differs between countries -- and you haven't mentioned which you are interested in. Nonetheless, Scott's answer is good general advice. –  Andrew Leach Apr 11 '13 at 20:29
    
This comment is added to question the purpose of the explanation why the question is questioned .. –  Stockfisch Apr 11 '13 at 21:27
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes. It's a derivative work and is infringement assuming the original has all rights reserved.

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What if we were to re-size the image? –  CLearner Apr 11 '13 at 20:20
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It doesn't matter, it's still their work. –  Gramps Apr 11 '13 at 20:21
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That does not matter. If the rights are reserved there is nothing you can do to allow for a derivative work. –  Scott Apr 11 '13 at 20:22
    
If you are wanting to use their work contact them and get written permission. –  Gramps Apr 11 '13 at 20:28
    
@CLearner See this article for a famous example of derivative work in copyright law –  JohnB Apr 11 '13 at 20:48
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have a look at this in regards to copyright

§ 1301. Designs protected2

(a) Designs protected. —

(1) In general. — The designer or other owner of an original design of a useful article which makes the article attractive or distinctive in appearance to the purchasing or using public may secure the protection provided by this chapter upon complying with and subject to this chapter.

(2) Vessel features.—The design of a vessel hull, deck, or combination of a hull and deck, including a plug or mold, is subject to protection under this chapter, notwithstanding section 1302(4).

(3) Exceptions.—Department of Defense rights in a registered design under this chapter, including the right to build to such registered design, shall be determined solely by operation of section 2320 of title 10 or by the instrument under which the design was developed for the United States Government.

(b) Definitions. — For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) A design is “original” if it is the result of the designer's creative endeavor that provides a distinguishable variation over prior work pertaining to similar articles which is more than merely trivial and has not been copied from another source.

(2) A “useful article” is a vessel hull or deck, including a plug or mold, which in normal use has an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. An article which normally is part of a useful article shall be deemed to be a useful article.

(3) A “vessel” is a craft —

(A) that is designed and capable of independently steering a course on or through water through its own means of propulsion; and

(B) that is designed and capable of carrying and transporting one or more passengers.

(4) A ‘hull’ is the exterior frame or body of a vessel, exclusive of the deck, superstructure, masts, sails, yards, rigging, hardware, fixtures, and other attachments.

(5) A “plug” means a device or model used to make a mold for the purpose of exact duplication, regardless of whether the device or model has an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not only to portray the appearance of the product or to convey information.

(6) A “mold” means a matrix or form in which a substance for material is used, regardless of whether the matrix or form has an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not only to portray the appearance of the product or to convey information.

(7) A ‘deck’ is the horizontal surface of a vessel that covers the hull, including exterior cabin and cockpit surfaces and exclusive of masts, sails, yards, rigging, hardware, fixtures, and other attachments.

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