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Say I take this pic:

enter image description here

and turn it into this (plus adding title and name of author):

enter image description here

And then use it as a cover for a book at Amazon.

Is that copyright infringement?

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marked as duplicate by Matt, Yisela Jul 23 '13 at 21:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1  
I beleive the general mentality behind not worrying about copyright after modifying an image beyond recognition is that you keep it to yourself and assume you'll get away with it because it's no longer recognizable. That said, I would never advocate this in a professional environment. If it's something you're unlikely to toss in your portfolio and isn't a professional job, who cares. –  Eric Jul 9 '13 at 13:57
    
however, with about 2 minutes of work one can reverse engineer the source image to a point close enough that it won't matter once the effect is applied to it. –  horatio Jul 9 '13 at 14:18
    
Simple solution: since the end product won't be recognisable as the original anyway and doesn't need fine detail, why not use photos as 'mood board' images for inspiration (perfectly legal), then just create something yourself? Sketch a humanoid figure shape, looking at this and other similar images, then apply your effect to that. –  user568458 Jul 24 '13 at 11:16
    

3 Answers 3

UK copyright law:

Yes, it is infringement. You are creating a derivative work. This treatment needs the permission of the copyright holder.

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German copyright laws, as well as most copyright-related laws worldwide, also thinks this is a copyright infringement as you are basing your work on the creative work of another party that owns all (copy)rights related to the original work.

In fact, in most western countries you will be civil prosecution and damage claims will merely be the tip of the iceberg you're hitting with such a harmless-looking "modification". Besides that, chances are that it won't let your criminal records look as clean as before after "they" are done with you.

Therefore, a well-meant tip: do not even think about doing it!

For further research on the issue, you might want to start reading about international copyright laws and treaties.

A few usable starting points are:

And if you're no wikipedia fan, you can check what the more "serious" websites say:

Those should get you going. After reading all that, you'll know why I stated you shouldn't even think about such a copyright infringement… that is, unless you get a written permission issued and signed by the copyright-holding party.

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Yes this is copyright infringement. Furthermore Amazon will remove your title from sale if they ever find out that you do not have permission to sell it and if the the artist contacts Amazon in regards to the infringement Amazon will prevent you from ever selling your title again or any other content.

Depending on which region of the world you could also face royalty fees associated with using this image without the proper rights. In America this is known as "damages".

Now the likelihood of the artist finding out may be minimal but as an artist in the field would you like it if someone ripped off your work? Do the right thing and either contact the seller or spend the few dollars for it since you already found it on iStockphoto.

As Scott put it best here.

If you click on the tag you will also see copyright questions and answers:

  1. Is vectorizing an image copyright theft if the image is not CC/Public domain?
  2. Is it OK to include a stylized reproduction of a copyrighted painting in a design?
  3. Under the U.S.'s Copyright Law, is it an act of copyright infringement if we changed the color of another artist's image to black and white?
  4. Under the U.S.'s Copyright Law, is it an act of copyright infringement if we changed the color of another artist's image to black and white?
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