I really have decided all this stuff could drive a person nuts. The conversation on copyright raves on in the collage group on yahoo. I really have come to my own conclusion about my personal usage in imagery in my work. I am okay with it!!! After reading court papers about Jeff Koons and his case of Blanch v. Koons, I am deciding that i have transformed the pieces i use enough from their original context.
But of course, I go in a paranoid frenzy and look at this stuff all the time. I don't know why i worry. I am an artist and I am transforming paper into new forms. What else can be said?
The copyright law which is listed in its entirety here...says,
"... In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."...
I found this interesting table on the UNC site about the Public Domain. Basically it says this:
Any work published on or before December 31, 1922 is now in the public domain.
Works published between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1978, inclusive, are protected for a term of 95 years from the date of publication, with the proper notice.
But, if the work was published between 1923 and December 31, 1963, when there used to be a (non-automatic) "renewal term," the copyright owner may not have renewed the work. If he or she did not renew, the original term of protection (28 years) would now be expired and these works will be in the public domain.
After 1978, the way we measure the term of protection changes. It is no longer related to a date of publication, but rather runs for 70 years from the date the author dies (called, "life of the author" plus 70 years). Further, publication is irrelevant. Works are protected whether they are published or not.
Finally, those works that were created before December 31, 1978, but never published, are now protected for the longer of life of the author plus 70 years or until December 31, 2002."
i REALLY liked this special explanation for multi media works found at this link regarding the University of Texas' Policy:
"RULES OF THUMB FOR DIGITIZING AND USING OTHERS' WORKS IN MULTIMEDIA MATERIALS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES
The CONFU Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia suggest that fair use requires adherence to specific numerical portion limits, that copies of the multimedia work that includes the works of others should be strictly controlled, and that fair use "expires" after 2 years. Our Rules of Thumb acknowledge that these are important considerations, but the Guidelines numbers do not describe the outer limits of fair use. Despite their tightly controlled approach, the Guidelines can provide helpful guidance and we recommend that you read them.
Please keep in mind that the rights described here are rights to create unique works, but not to make multiple copies and give them out (distribute them).
1. Students, faculty and staff may incorporate others' works into a multimedia work display and perform a multimedia work in connection with or creation of class assignments curriculum materials remote instruction examinations student portfolios professional symposia.
2. Be conservative. Use only small amounts of other's works.
3. Don't make any unnecessary copies of the multimedia work."