How to legally use Internet photos, drawings and videos

Intellectual property

The Law on Intellectual Property (Royal Decree 1/1996, of April 12) establishes that the reproduction, distribution and communication to the public of photographs, drawings or audiovisual pieces through any physical or digital medium, is subject to the author’s authorization.

On the other hand, there is a widespread belief that photographs, videos, drawings or other graphic expressions (such as graffiti, comic strips, etc.) that are disclosed on the internet (especially in the case of impersonal web platforms such as Google) can be used Images) and even more so if it is for non-commercial uses such as a Power Point presentation for a meeting in my company or in my personal blog.

 

What if I can’t locate the author?

These types of works are what the Intellectual Property Law (hereinafter, LPI) calls “orphan works.” The classification of a work as an “orphan work” does not lead to the loss of intellectual property rights of the author. That is, that a work is an orphan, does not mean that it is in the public domain and therefore, can be used by any user.

Currently, in other countries there are administrative procedures to manage through the Intellectual Property Registry, which allow the user to use orphan works in exchange for the payment of a fee. However, these types of measures are not included in our LPI and therefore, we currently do not have a legal solution for a user who wants to use orphan works protected by copyright.The Law on Intellectual Property (Royal Decree 1/1996, of April 12) establishes that communication to the public and distribution of photographs, drawings or audiovisual pieces, through any physical or digital medium, is subject to the author’s authorization.

 

What I can do? What photographs, drawings or videos can I use?

 

All works that are in the public domain (or free domain) or all works protected with the author’s consent can be used.

Regarding works in the public domain:

    • Mere photographs for which 25 years have elapsed since they were taken.
    • Photographic works for which 70 years have elapsed since the death of its author.
    • Drawings and other graphic resources for which 70 years have passed since the death of its author.
    • Audiovisual recordings for which 50 years have elapsed since its dissemination.
    • Audiovisual works for which 70 years have elapsed since its dissemination.

On the other hand, there are currently a multitude of banks of images and videos of which, any user can download and safely use a multitude of photographs, drawings or videos for free, or in exchange for the payment of a certain price and that will depend on the uses that They want to make the image, drawing or video. All this, without risk of receiving a requirement from the rights holder.

However, and in relation to the latest changes in Data Protection, we advise our clients not to use photographs or videos that reproduce the image of a person (even if they aren’t facing the camera), if they are not sure that that person has expressly consented to the photograph or video and for the uses that you as a user wish to make the same.

 

Every rule has its exception

Thus, the LPI authorizes for educational or divulgative purposes, the use of any photograph, illustration or audiovisual piece that is used for analysis, comment or critical judgment.


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