Recently I read in Forbes that SpaceX wants the public to use its pictures. They have a Flickr channel where you can take a look at their photostream, then use the pictures as you like.
The photo pictured here shows the Dragon spacecraft being dropped by parachutes. The Dragon
The general public may not be aware, but most photos found online are not free to use. They are probably protected by copyright and permission for any type of use should be obtained from the owner. At the very least, the owner of the photo should be credited. But that still may not be enough to protect from a claim of copyright infringement.
Since SpaceX is encouraging the public to use their photos for free, they have waived the copyrights to all their photos and have specifically stated that there is no copyright and the Creative Commons license is Public Domain. See the wording of the license below.
The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Waiving the copyright and using intellectual property in the public domain, is different from the fair use of intellectual property.
When copyright protected work is used without permission of the owner, sometimes a court may find that use was okay. The use was fair to the owner based on factors for the public good like, “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.”
As someone who creates content and has seen my work used by others without my permission, I’m very aware of copyright issues. Hopefully this quick little lesson may help others from making a mistake and using the work of someone else without permission. This is an issue that comes up a lot with bloggers!
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Disclaimer: While I am a Massachusetts licensed attorney, nothing written or shared here should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. I am not in private practice nor am I seeking clients for private legal representation. If you have a legal question, please contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.
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Photo Credit: SpaceX