Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

Questions > How do you figure if an author photo is in the public domain?

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments I want a photo of Cesar Chavez added to his author profile. I'm sure there are some online that are okay for use. For those librarians who have added author photos or know the laws surrounding doing so, how do you determine if photos are in the public domain? Google images isn't it; I see a Time Magazine cover included which certainly isn't okay. If anybody can find a photo, please add it, and please post about its qualifications. Thanks!

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Thank you very much, Bun. I took a quick look. It is one of the photos that I'd seen. But, I'm having a hard time finding the information about who to attribute. I'll save this thread as unread and take more time to figure this out when I get home later today.

message 3: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 44647 comments Mod
To answer the more general question, unless it is from Wikipedia (or another site with similar licensing of photos), or somewhere that states that the photo is not copyrighted, it's probably NOT. Exceptions: a photo you yourself took or that the person who actually took gave you permission to use, or one of someone who is long dead, which is likely out of copyright. Dickens, for instance.

message 4: by Lisa (last edited May 21, 2010 12:34PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments He is dead, but I know nothing about the terms of his estate.

What do I say to give wikipedia credit, or is any photo there automatically free use?


message 5: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments The relevant part of the page there is this:

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license [...:] You are free: to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work

Unless a photo of a person* has a statement like this attached, you should assume that you don't have rights to share the photo.

* I had a long-winded digression here about photos of book covers, but that's not really relevant to photos of people.

I get a little frustrated with Wikimedia Commons' layout, because they almost always say "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor" and then don't provide a clear specification. Grr!

In this case, I would attribute this as original photo by Joel Levine, derivative work by Work permit, plus a link to that webpage.

message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Thanks, Cait and Bun. I was very confused; I couldn't make sense of that page. And, I don't remember ever adding an author photo here before. Plenty of book covers and avatars I've checkout out but no author photos. I guess it's safe enough to try it by following Cait's instructions. I appreciate all the help!

message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Thanks, Bun! I hope that we're all right. If worst comes to worse, I assume we/I/Goodreads would be allowed to just delete the photo. Thanks for finding it; I'd seen it, but it was in a sea of others, and I couldn't figure out which might be okay to use, if any.

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