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Metacolor Tip : Copyrights and Usage
When I first began colorizing old black and white photos, I really didn’t care much about the rights and usage of the photo. This is mostly because I didn’t believe my work at the time would gain any recognition whatsoever and no one would care, such is not the case currently.
After practicing and honing my craft for quite some time, I soon gained some recognition from online publications. The Daily Mail, Buzzfeedand MyModerMet.com were just some of the few online news sources that displaying my work across the internet.
Fortunately I had done a small amount of research and the photos that were in the press were all considered public domain. I have heard a few horror stories about fellow colorization/restoration artists being hit with copyright law emails and angry photographers who received no credit, and demanded to be compensated for it.So I thought I would mention a few tips in finding a good source image and not having to worry about copyrights.
So, you were Google-ing images of old black and white photos and have found one of Audrey Hepburn giving champagne to her pet deer(This photo exists) and you really like it and want to add color to it. Ask.
I know it sounds obvious but its so easy to just download the image and start. You’re going to be really frustrated if you spent hours on a colorization only to find that you can even show it to anyone.Besides its good etiquette and the internet can be a pretty small place some times and some etiquette and respect will take you a long way.
Ive found that most websites have a contact area where you can ask for permission to use the photos and most likely they may not even own the rights and they will tell you its public domain. Boom. Job done.
2. Check The Source!
Just because you saw that photo of Audrey Hepburn on the Library of Congress website and you know its public domain does not mean every image you find on the internet of that photo is public domain. Confusing? Ill explain..
Some websites take public domain photos and restore them and make them better looking, the altered and restored photo is now their property. Not the original, just the modified one. Shorpys.com is a good example of this. The photos are public domain but have been modified and enhanced and belong to Shorpys.com.So its always a good idea to check and make sure you are using the correct source image.
3. Find a Good Photo Source Site
There are many websites that offer public domain source photos and negatives. The Library Of Congress is a great one, but even better is “The Commons” on Flickr.The Commons is a area of Flickr where museums and universities from around the world post their photos in the hopes that the public will help in identifying and tagging some of these old photos. I like to pull a lot of my images from there and the rights to the photos are right there in black and white before you download the photo.
And that’s pretty much it. By no means am I an expert, but I just wanted to share what I have learned from personal experience.