My designer modified a dragon for use on my site. The dragon came from a site - I can't post the URL because it won't let me. Anyway it doesn't look that different at first glance but if you look closer you will see that there are definite differences - no tongue, an extra horn, a few extra fins. You can clearly see it is based on the other dragon, but side by side they have differences. My question is does that matter? Neither of us want to be sued and are both clueless as far as the copyright process - how different must something be to avoid being sued? I'm in the U.S. so it relates to U.S. copyright laws - just incase people need to know that.
I would definitely be leery of a designer who steals images.
Under Fair Use, if a derivative work uses more than 10% of its source material, it's not fair use - it's copying.
If your dragon resembles the other site's dragon recognizably, the little details like "no tongue, an extra horn, a few extra fins" don't make a substantial difference.
Your choices are:
* use the dragon and hope and pray that you never get slammed (very bad choice IMHO, especially since you've admitted knowledge of its being copied in a public forum)
* contact the site owner, explain what happened to you, ask permission to use the dragon in its modified form on your site. If they say "no,", you have to remove the dragon.
* tell the designer that you want him / her to create you a new dragon, and to either create it from scratch or obtain prior permission to use someone else's dragon - and prove it to you.
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Thanks to all who answered. And in the designers defense, he didn't steal the dragon - I gave him the dragon as an example of what I would like and he did try to modify it so that it appeared to be different. Anyway, from the responses, it seems as though it'd have to be so radically different it wouldn't matter. I'll try contacting the designer though.
Would you expect to sell a book to a publisher that was "derived from" Star Wars but just gave Luke a third arm for fighting or Hans a sidekick named SwallowBacca?
Interesting that this thread and the "right click or not" thread collided, eh? ;-)
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First off why I disagree. If we could only use things that were based off 10% of the orignial. No more sites on the internet would exisit. That or a majority of them couldn't be accessed because of dail-up.
I agree that you should, if the dragon was a total orginial (use your best judgement) you should contact the creator and ask promission. If it is a generic dragon and you have modified it I would say use it.
But over all personally it is an intangable object, and unless it can confuse normal people into thinking you are the place that you took the image from, then copyrights really don't belong.