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My opinion (very unprofessional, but, since I just wrote a paper on
copyright law in the digital environment dealing specifically with fair
use, I know a little about this very murky area) is similar to
Emily-Jane's, that is, use of copyrighted material in a collage will fall
under the doctrine of first sale, meaning, once you initially pay for it
you are free to do with it what you want, except reproduce it. So, old
fashioned cut and paste collage is ok, but, if you scan it and use software
such as Photoshop to create the collage it would be a copyright
infringement, because the scan is a reproduction. Of course you could try
to claim fair use, if it was for your own personal use and not for profit
and you were only using a small portion of the whole and you were using the
material to make a comment or criticism or in a "transformative" way. But
then again, fair use is determined on a case by case basis and it is very
subjective. It really depends on your motives, the rightsholders feelings
and finally on the judges opinion.
To read more about it, check out these two web sites, which both include
the most recent copyright act (1976) and the White Paper, the IITF
Intellectual Property Rights Working Group's report on intellectual
property in the National Information Infrastructure (from the Dep't of
Commerce, making recommendations for Al Gore's dream.) This document is
very important and I urge every concerned citizen, especially artists,
writers and Internet users to read over it and some of the criticisms of
this report, consider the implications and respond to your representatives
in congress before it becomes law and in my opinion seriously curtails our
rights as creators and users. Ugh, I thought I was done thinking about this
when I turned in that paper, but, it can become an emotional issue as well
as a legal one. Thanks for reading my blab. Tanya


Emily-Jane Dawson wrote:

>In regard to your question concerning the use of copyrighted items in
>collage work, it is my (rather informal) understanding of the copyright
>law that a copyrighted item may be used in a work of art AS LONG AS IT
>IS NOT THEREAFTER REPRODUCED.  Therefore, it is perfectly legal, for
>example, to use a copyrighted poem or photograph in your work, as long
>as you make only one copy (of your work).  I believe this falls under
>the part of the law which allows us all to make one copy of anything
>for our own personal use.

But if you sell that collage, even if you use the original from the
magazine or your one copy of the original, you are making money off
someone else's copyrighted work, and this is where it becomes tricky.  I
deal with copyright issues a lot, and have not found a suitable answer
for this question, expecially one all our lawyers can agree on.  This
has troubled me for quite some time and I would be very interested to
see if anyone knows the definitive answer.


Pamela Rups

Gregory Fisk
Tanya DiMaggio

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