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Jeremy Cowart in Los Angeles, CA

Website:  http://jeremycowart.com/

 

A month or so ago at Photoshop World in Atlanta, Jeremy Cowart was a presenter.  In this class he described his technique of creating time-lapse videos of himself creating composite art pieces which he is selling for his charity.  Part of that process involved Jeremy showing himself going to Google Image Search and using images taken by others as layers in the final composite piece.  When questioned during his class about the legalities regarding copyright infringement by doing this, Jeremy allegedly said that it didn’t apply because he isn’t making money off of the pieces.   This information is wrong.  If you want to read the laws about derivative works, read here.  Essentially if you are using images that are copyright to the original owner to create a new piece of work you must have permission from the original copyright holder.   While I admire what Jeremy does for his charities, I don’t admire his method of creating the work and then teaching other creatives at a conference this method of obtaining images for composite work.

 

Deep Dark Blackness piece for sale here  (1:46 – 3:22 is sourcing of the below images)

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Original source Bernie Madoff

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Original source Catholic Priest

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Unknown original source Sharks

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Original source Rebecca Black (still from her Friday video)

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Original source Michael Vick

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Original source Mel Gibson mugshot

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Unknown original artist God

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Unknown original source Bin Laden

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Original source Lindsey Lohan mugshot

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Original source Darth Vader

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Unknown original source Ted Haggard

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Unknown original source Jeffrey Dahmer

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Original source Hitler

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Original source Voldemort (still from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

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Original source Charlie Sheen

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Original source Lotso

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Original source KKK

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  • Jane Smith

    I am glad people called him out for doing that, I have watched so many youtube videos that just pull image from where ever they feel like it… When you ask them about i they flip out on you….. I love creating photo manipulations but I made sure to email the stock photo site I use to make sure how I was using them was within the legal rights to do so….

    • Steven Paul

      Alright enough is enough. I took notice of Jeremy when I first started photography and I can tell you his character is that of unbelievable caring family man. Jeremy please stop you don’t have to feel you are obligated to explain yourself over and over and over again to people who love to find fault with others. This was obviously not done intentionally and is an easy fix that was brought to his attention no need to make a spectacle of it Jeremy is always said from the start that he was new to all this and he was learning as he was going. People make mistakes we get over it learn and forward.

      • 1- Why are you necroing this thread. @jeremycowart came on here apologized unconditionally and pulled the content. This was done and over with already.

        2- “his character is that of unbelievable caring family man.”

        That’s great … doesn’t change the fact that what he did was wrong/illegal.

        3- “This was obviously not done intentionally”

        Ignorance of the law isn’t a defense.

        4- “Jeremy is always said from the start that he was new to all this and he was learning as he was going.”

        Then he shouldn’t be teaching it should he. He was telling his “students” to violate peoples copyright.

        5- “People make mistakes we get over it learn and forward.”

        And he did … thanks to this site. Thankfully for him, he learned it by listening to us instead of being sued into oblivion.

        Other’s on the other hand don’t learn from their mistakes … just read up on these nut cases:

        http://stopstealingphotos.com/kimberly-mallett-photography/
        http://stopstealingphotos.com/collecting-light-brighton-england-uk/
        http://stopstealingphotos.com/time-sparkle-photo-design-aka-tts-photo-design-vineland-nj/

        Like I said, this has been a dead thread for over 4 days now … we were done with it until you came on here to fan the flames.

        • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

          what he did isn’t illegal lol. He is like a collage artist and is just taking found materials and manipulating them….

          • Joseph Philbert

            You are clueless

      • Marc W.

        My only question is, was he not contacted before about these images? If so, why didn’t he take care of it before called out in PS?

      • Helena

        If you read the comments there hadn’t been any for 4 days. It was over. He apologised, was incredibly reasonable about it, and it was wholeheartedly refreshing compared to most of the people featured.

        • Lindsay11

          I used to think people who didn’t read the comments before they posted were the stuff of legends, like bigfoot or chupacabre. We’ve learned a lot here lately haven’t we?

          • Helena

            LOL. Yes. The last few weeks on here have been… informative.

      • Oh and you might want to read up on something called the “Streisand Effect”. 🙂

        • Just a Girl

          HAHA!! no kidding!

    • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

      This is so annoying to me because this guy is in the right! It’s okay to make images like this out of other images! There have been cases on this sort of thing and the rulings are in favor of mr Jeremy here because he took the image and made it so you can’t even tell what it is and recontextualized it. He isn’t stealing the composition of the other photos at all…He’s completely manipulating and changing it!

  • Photog

    why is this password protected??!!

    • Marc W.

      I had to refresh the page a few times to get the story.

  • typeaimages

    ?!?!?! Say it ain’t so, I love Jeremy Cowart. What did he do???

  • js

    Can’t see the post….password?

    • Ferrerfoto

      password is Password

      • js

        Thank you!

  • Always question

    “Jeremy allegedly said that it didn’t apply because he isn’t making money off of the pieces” — was he there for free? Did his participants get into the class for free? Then he did make money off the pieces, didn’t he? Even teachers in regular schools must ask for and follow copyright laws to use another’s materials in class.

    • VSB

      You are 100% right! Photoshop World is not a free event, not by a long shot! I’m surprised Kelby Media who produces the show didn’t correct that – they know better!

  • peaceetc
    • I’m confused … why did you post a link to this article IN this article?

      • peaceetc

        Sorry, when this first went up, the original link didn’t work. It merged somewhere along the line. I apologize for the confusion.

  • peaceetc

    I’m glad you posted this. Mr. Cowart was incorrect in his statement, and considering his position of educating others, people need to know this. I hope people can appreciate that, and won’t go for the emotional knee jerk reaction of wanting to defend him. This isn’t about him, exactly, it’s about respecting and protecting the copyrights of others.

  • VSB

    That from the guy who posted this on Google+ “I had a guy today using my name and image to sell a photography product. My face was on the Facebook Ad itself. Did any of you see it? I’ve had people steal and use images before but never my face and name to sell a product. I was pretty shocked and I never get mad at anything. But this definitely had me upset. Have you guys ever had similar situations with images? What do you usually do?” https://plus.google.com/+JeremyCowart/posts/MWFyjMeuu4c

    I’m sick of people excusing copyright infringement with the “I-am-not-selling-your-image” BS line. If the work is “all rights reserved” (which mine is) ASK for permission to use it.

    • Perhaps he also doesn’t understand the ToS of Facebook …

      10 – About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook

      Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers. In order to help us do that, you agree to the following:

      You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.


      source: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

      • VSB

        Karma! LOL!

  • jeremycowart

    Thanks for the discussion everyone. The client specifically asked me to create a piece of artwork, using icons that society hates. So as a part of the process, I showed how I use found images on Google. At the time, we weren’t profiting in any way, shape or form. I’ve since sold a few prints of the piece (to benefit the non-profit) but agree that it’s not a good idea. I would never want to promote the idea of stealing other images. I’ve since taken the piece off my website and store. So good job and holding artists accountable.

    • jeremycowart

      I must also add that in the final piece, you can’t see any of the images I used. I only abstract fragments. The actual final piece doesn’t represent any one stolen image. You can see for yourself here:

      The client wanted to do a piece on forgiveness and encourage extreme forgiveness, which I thought was a cool idea. Now here I am, asking for forgiveness haha. But next time, I’ll gladly turn them down, if it involves using other imagery.

      • Thanks for joining in on the conversation.

        I think the sticking point here is where you “allegedly” told people that just taking images off of Google or Flickr or some such was not illegal. We have enough trouble already with getting people to understand that Google and Flickr and all those other sites are not a buffet for free images without a professional spreading more miss information.

        • jeremycowart

          Admittedly, I’m not super “informed” when it comes to information like this, which is why it’s great that you guys exist and this website exists. I’m a fan. Artists certainly need to be informed. I thought if someone is doing a piece of art and is not profiting in any way, it was okay. But hey, if I’m wrong, that’s great news. I have a lot of people out there taking my work for various reasons. So again, happy to be educated here.

          • Joseph Philbert

            Hey the fact that you can come here and actual have a civil conversation/discussion speaks volumes to me. 99% of those who are “outed” act quite differently.
            Thank you …this was great to read all the responses.

          • jeremycowart

            @josephphilbert:disqus Absolutely. It’s an important discussion.

          • Norman Beer

            Yes, as Joseph said, THANK YOU! For that you get the PS Prize! So many people do the ‘wrong’ thing. Thanks for taking steps to do the right!

          • doncalifornia

            Yes this is good. It would be SUPER good if would incorporate clear explanations of correct copyright compliance in everything you do going forward. Just a note, “flashing” an image in a workshop in a video is “using” it commercially. It’s not necessary to use it for a minimum number of minutes or sell it or raise money with it for it to constitute copyright infringement.

          • doncalifornia

            In other words that is not “Fair Use” which has kind of a narrow and strict set of conditions.

      • captain-confuzzled

        Glad that you have promised “not to do it any more”, now that you have been outed. That’s something.

        But I’ve also got a couple of sticking points to with your explanation. “at the time we weren’t profiting in any way, shape, or form”. This implies that you feel it is okay to abuse the copyright of others as long as you aren’t profiting. If I use somebody else’s work, I pay up front. I see nothing in the Copyright Act that says as long as you probably, might not make any money from it then it is okay. Even if it is for a non-profit. The artist has a right to determine which non-profit their work benefits, not you. And, on top of all that, you did in fact make money from it, both in sales of the piece and as someone else mentioned, with the workshop itself.

        Secondly, the whole “you can’t see any of the images I used”. Then you didn’t need to use them did you? Oh, wait, you did need to use them? Then you owe the copyright owners their due. Strange logic on your part for sure.

        • jeremycowart

          Ha, I never planned on doing it again to begin with. You can see the art I’ve been creating over the last week on my Instagram account… all original art, using photos I shoot in my studio: http://instagram.com/jeremycowart

          Again, I’m getting educated as we speak. I honestly thought for a piece like that, it was okay to show the icons we were referencing in the piece to encourage extreme forgiveness. Without briefly showing them, the piece wouldn’t have made sense. That’s the only reason I flashed their faces on the screen.

          As for the workshop, I believe that workshop at Photoshop World lasted an hour or 2 and my mentioning this piece maybe lasted 3 minutes. So no, I don’t believe I was profiting in that way.

          Thanks again for the discussion, guys.

          • captain-confuzzled

            nice sidestep. So happy you are happy! I look forward to seeing you include information on copyright issues in your future education courses. There is an opportunity to do something to help many in your industry if you make a commitment to do that.

          • jeremycowart

            Honestly, I’m VERY happy to educate people in this area. I think for artists, it’s just always been seemingly complicated and a bit confusing. I have been one of those artists for years. You guys are doing a great job at educating everyone.

          • Norman Beer

            In my humble opinion, the best way to move forward is a public statement saying look folks, this is wrong. Word it as you will, but something from you to everyone out there that says hey, I didn’t know, I was wrong, I misspoke, and no, you can’t just do this. THAT would send a message to your followers AND the rest of the photo community that they can’t be doing it either.
            Coming from this page, or the unheard of photographer it means nothing in comparison.

            That said, I still find it hard to believe that you thought in any way that this was acceptable. People called you out on it then, and rather than saying “I don’t know” or “Let me check” you apparently argued the point.

            Heck, even Gary Fong covered this… Perhaps if you ask him, he will co-write a piece or a video with you to help spread the word again.

          • jeremycowart

            @normanbeer:disqus Yes, I know it’s hard to believe. But I’ve always been that clueless about copyright stuff. But this piece was created 2 or 3 years ago and I haven’t done anything using found images since.

          • Norman Beer

            Wait, I thought the demo was at PSW this year?
            When did the convo take place telling people it was OK to use found images?

          • jeremycowart

            @normanbeer:disqus Oh, the demo… yes that was probably this year. I think someone asked this question in Q&A and I obviously was clueless.

          • jeremycowart

            I don’t recall teaching what I’m being accused of specifically cause clearly, I’ve never known all the rules to begin with. But when people ask during Q&A, I try my best to explain…

        • LookAtStuff

          This is the part I can’t wrap my head around, exactly. Why use them if you can’t see them? What does it add to the end product?

          • jeremycowart

            @lookatstuff:disqus We just wanted to super briefly flash the faces to show culture the controversial figures of culture and the people that maybe we should consider forgiving. If you didn’t see the faces, it wouldn’t have made much sense.

          • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

            like I’ve said elsewhere, artistically and legally you are in the right…So I guess these people on this website don’t always know what they are doing… YOu can manipulate imagery enough that it is something so new that it is unrecognizable. Plenty of collage artists with physical materials do what you do…You cut out stuff from 20 magazines and stick it in one image and draw over it..You can’t even tell the images apart anymore…It shouldn’t be different with a digital collage. Your work is good and I think it’s sad that you are going to be outed from using a good tool ….But I understand not wanting to risk your name..even if you are in the right….I think the people on the website should be more familiar with collage art and its legality….

        • Joseph Philbert

          Good explanation!

    • ErickPaul

      I just wanted to say that I am impressed with how quickly you replied to this and how honestly you took responsibility for your actions. and your work is amazing.

  • LookAtStuff

    I’m afraid I don’t quite get the core concept of this but in my mind it’s something like this:
    I go into the Louvre and grab some paintings. I layer them on top of each other or meld them together in some way that I think looks pleasing and then I paint my art on top of it. Then I sell it and teach other people to go into the Louvre and grab paintings for their art. Only he does it with google and computers. Is that the basic idea or am I off somewhere?

    • Norman Beer

      Yes but their security is much tighter than Google.

      • LookAtStuff

        HAH!

    • jeremycowart

      @lookatstuff:disqus Yes, that is essentially what I did when the client asked me to. Neither of us were fully aware of the rules, obviously. Lessons learned for sure.

      • LookAtStuff

        Jeremy, I hope my post came across neutral as I can see you are here trying to make things right. I was just trying to understand the situation as I’m not a photographer and I’m not an artist. This is quite interesting and it looks like you can come up with some pretty amazing images. Just do it the right way, eh? 🙂

        • Marc W.

          Yes and no. I’ve only seen Jeremy say essentially “I’m an artist and I didn’t know about copyright… “. I searched for “sorry” on this page and nothing came up. It’s funny, even @VivianSB:disqus posted a link where Jeremy said he was “But this definitely had me upset.” that someone used his face and photos for an ad.

          Jeremy, were you paid to use attend and speak at the event where you use these images?

      • LookAtStuff

        Do you have a video of your art where you haven’t used other people’s photographs? I’m not sure about the photos in this one, they may be yours?

        I’ll be completely honest I’m asking because I’ve only watched two videos now and I’d watch more but I’m running late. I’m asking because this is fascinating and I am really enjoying watching you put this together. The finished art piece is very interesting. I liked the beginning painting you painted and I liked when you added things to it. But you had to take those other things from other people, didn’t you? I’d really like to become a fan but I want to be a fan of work that is all yours, know what I mean?

        Also this is a great learning experience for a lot of people. I’m introduced to new art and we all get to learn more about using art.

        (I’m trying very hard with my wording here, please read this as neutral to friendly.)

        • jeremycowart

          @lookatstuff:disqus All the photos in this video are my own…

          • LookAtStuff

            I really like it. When I get home I can’t wait to check out your other pieces. I think I’ve become a fan. Thank you for coming here and being so civil… and putting up with my questions.

          • jeremycowart

            @lookatstuff:disqus Thanks! Means a lot. And no problem on the discussion. It’s great.

  • Joseph Philbert

    Its now offline… I guess he got the message.

    http://store.jeremycowart.com/products/167852-deep-dark-blackness

    • jeremycowart

      @Joseph Philbert:disqus Yes, as I said below, I took the piece down. It’s no problem…

      • Joseph Philbert

        sorry missed it 🙁

    • Marc W.

      @photostealers:disqus Was he not contacted before this blog post went live?

  • Eric Sartoris

    I’m not totally clear on the “not profiting” part of Mr. Cowart’s explanation. Was this a free workshop? Or some other sort of free presentation?

    • Norman Beer

      No, you had to pay to attend, and presumably he was paid to speak.

      • jeremycowart

        @Eric Sartoris:disqus @normanbeer:disqus No the workshop was a larger part of Photoshop World… a 3 day conference. And yes, I was paid to teach multiple classes. I covered this piece during one class. I mentioned it over the course of 2-3 minutes in a 90 minute class.

        • Norman Beer

          While no, I am not an attorney, never played one on TV, or slept in XYZ Hotel last night, the issue comes in that you were compensated to put on this program. Therein you used this material. Even if it was for 3 minutes. Therefore you were compensated for said work.

          Either way, as mentioned, paid or not, it’s still illegal.

          As for not knowing you couldn’t do it, that excuse never works when you tell it to the cops… OK, perhaps CHP, but not Sheriff Joe in AZ.

          Perhaps the ‘right’ thing to do would be to contact all of the original photographers and copyright holders (Getty, etc.) and pay the use fee.

          • jeremycowart

            Will look into it for sure…

          • Norman Beer

            Thank you

        • Norman Beer

          Again, thank you for having a civil discussion and perhaps your example will show others the way it should be done!

          • jeremycowart

            @normanbeer:disqus Absolutely. And you guys continue to do the same. Always keep things civil. It’s a good and worthy cause you’re pursuing…

          • LookAtStuff

            I was the recipient of some fairly vulgar words this morning from a photo thiefand you can see how carefully I tried to chose my words with you so it didn’t seem like I was attacking. I’m new here, but I’ve seen everyone be very careful to keep things civil. 🙂

          • peaceetc

            I, for one, am glad you’re here. 🙂

          • Lindsay11

            Oh my how sweet of you to say! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face! 🙂 I think you guys here are amazing! And yes, one day I will count how many times I use the word amazing. Too many, I am certain.

          • LookAtStuff

            Do you think we should point Lucie here?

          • Norman Beer

            Why? What did @jeremycowart:disqus ever do to you? He seams like a nice enough guy!

          • Lindsay11

            LOL fair enough!

  • Angelo

    Jeremy deserves a degree of respect for the successful career he has built for himself. But this is an example of how the social media age facilitates a quick path of individuals from “noticed”, to “popular”, to “teacher”, to “guru”, to … clearly still inexperienced, lacking wisdom, and given far too much credit, far too soon in their professional life. Not really Jeremy’s fault. He’s just a product of the phenomenon, but I’m sure still a nice guy.

    • Norman Beer

      He is most certainly NOT the only one and by no means the ‘biggest’ (most popular) or the most egregious offender! I don’t know him from Adam, but I have to say, his (@jeremycowart:disqus) response is unexpected and extremely refreshing!

      Do I think he will walk away with a new understanding? I certainly hope so!

      Do I think he will go out and educate others? Again, I certainly hope so!

      Do I think in the end we will see him back here? I certainly hope so! WHAT you say? Yup! But next time I’ll bet you he’ll be on THIS side on the convo helping others understand that what they did was wrong, why it was wrong, and how to make it right!

      I can see it now: Gary and Jeremy standing behind Photo Stealers!

      • jeremycowart

        @normanbeer:disqus Absolutely! As long as you guys always keep it civil and don’t attack people, I’ll always be a fan and support the cause here.

        • Norman Beer

          @photostealers:disqus, you heard it here first!

        • Helena

          Thank you for being so reasonable. It’s really refreshing after the last entry. 🙂

      • Angelo

        I fully expect Jeremy to learn from this. He does seem to be an honest and upstanding kind of guy. One day he will truly deserve the adulation he gets. What happened here just show that he’s not ready yet, but it also shows that he KNOWS that it was an error. As you mention, there are many, many other offenders (those standing on pillars built on social media), who buy into their own hype and seem clearly unable to smell their own *^$@%*.

      • Joseph Philbert

        I concur!

  • Ken Sklute

    I’m really surprised by this theft. I’m more surprised by the statement that “We didn’t make money from it….at that point!”
    Making money from it or not is still stealing! What kind of defense is this? To make matters worse, the hijacked images were then sold. How much more could be wrong with this situation? Angelo, regardless of his past charitable work, why do you feel that this is ok and that it is not his fault? He did it. He lied. He stole the images. He now has sold the images.

    This is another black mark by someone stealing images and then hunting for a silly defense after the fact. What happens to being responsible for one’s own actions?

    • jeremycowart

      Ken, please read through everything below and I hope/think you’ll understand further. As I’ve said, many lessons learned. My client and I were just trying to create an interesting music video, encouraging people to practice “extreme forgiveness”. Ironically, that’s what I’m asking for right now.

      • Really appreciate you coming and talking about it 🙂

    • Angelo

      Ken, yes, Jeremy made a mistake here. I am in no way defending the act. I am commenting on the phenomenon of how social media routinely places certain people on pedestals to be revered long before they have the true knowledge and wisdom deserving of the honour. When that person makes a mistake (and Jeremy is owning up to it), those below cry out as if they have been betrayed. But the real problem is the system which bestows super human power on regular people. Time, experience, knowledge and wisdom can hone someone into a real super hero. What social media does is let any shmuck put on a Superman cape and people will believe he’s the real thing… until the first simple test of his powers reveals the truth.

      • No slight meant to Jeremy but I have no clue who the hell he is in the great big world … all I know is that he used images potentially illegally and instructed others to do so as well when questioned during his presentation about the legalities of using images from Google.

        Soo this has nothing about holding him to some un-reasonable level … I just expect him not to violate others copyright and to not incite others to do so as well.

  • Jorkaborka

    I may or may not have stolen this image.. But, unless any of you want to buy it, atleast it´s non-commercial….

    • You need to re-read the definition of commercial use in relations with copyright.

      • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

        yeh there are plenty of collage artists that use materials from photos…It’s like I did a thing where I cut off the heads of magazine cut out bodies and made my own heads..The image is so unrecognizable that it is considered new no matter where I got the image from…So yeah this guy is fine…There are plenty of collage artists who do this sort of thing.

        • Helena

          In this case as well, the artist displayed the copyrighted material before adding it to the photo in a demonstration video. It would have been indistinguishable if that had not happened.

  • Justin Case

    Jeremy, thanks for being so open about all this. I think that this is actually quite a grey area for a lot of artists, but photographers (at least around here) tend to be a bit better informed since it’s a lot easier to steal a digital image than a mixed media work (or at least it used to be).

    I recommend you check out the Copyright Zone guys. Admittedly, they can sound a bit like ambulance chasers, but much of their information is sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ8TzCv1dfs

    The information about Warhol and other artists actually licensing their raw material (and/or being sued for it) was quite enlightening, especially since I’ve heard exactly the opposite information going around in art schools for years.

    If you’re interested and open, I can provide more links, but you may need a bit of time to absorb all of this first.

    • jeremycowart

      @disqus_ikAXyfA3Od:disqus Good stuff. Just favorited on YouTube and will check it out.

  • Julie McMillan

    Perhaps Jeremy would like to explain another video on his site, the one using the images of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke pulled from a Google image search, then composited with his own drawings? Other people’s images are just that, other people’s. He is using these videos on his site to promote himself and his work, so I don’t think it matters if money changed hands. I have a lot of respect for Jeremy Cowart’s talent and creativity, but I find it hard to believe that someone who makes his living as a photographer does not understand basic copyright principles. I think Mr. Cowart is quite religious…perhaps he should refer to the commandment that says “Thou shalt not steal.”

    • Marc W.

      It’ll be removed in no time… since you called it out.

    • jeremycowart

      @julie Yes, that video was the first time I ever tried this process or mixed media of any kind. It was a true revelation, in terms of what was possible in Photoshop. As a part of this discussion, that piece has also been removed from the store, just like the other piece referenced.

      • Julie McMillan

        And on the Portrait of Christ video, it looks as though you perhaps used all your own images? If so, good for you. The technique is fantastic, and very creative, and the finished artwork very interesting – just make sure you have the right to use the images forming the final art. I’m sure your work has been stolen by others, and it undermined your hard work building your career. Those of us who make our living in this field have to think of these things!

        • jeremycowart

          @Julie McMillan:disqus Yes, those were all my own images. Thanks for the kind words. As I’ve said multiple times now, it’s a great discussion and an important one. The whole point of the videos was to clearly show that I was using found images from Google. I would have never tried to hide that fact. So I kind of “outed” myself from Day 1. But yeah I was definitely clueless about copyright rules to begin with.

          • Julie McMillan

            You certainly did not try to hide it, that is for sure, and deserve credit for acknowledging the situation. I remain a fan of your work. Credit is also due to Stop Stealing Photos for starting a civil conversation on the topic.

          • Photo Stealers

            So that you know, you can use “advanced search” in the future on Google Images and filter the results to only show images that are free to use for commercial work.

          • jeremycowart

            Nice. Had no idea. Good to know for next time although there won’t be a next time haha.

          • Melinda Potter

            I didn’t know that advanced search would help filter this way either. I’ve actually had people ask where to find free to use images, and it always just say “I don’t know. I’ve never had the need” :/

          • For commercial use, I always tell them it;s not worth the risk. Using images from “free” leaves a business way to wide open for litigation when you consider that IStockPhoto and their ilk can sell you a large sized picture for 20$.

            When you download an image from a free stock site, you have no guarantee that the person who uploaded it it there had the right to do so. Same with images flagged “Creative Commons” found in Google Images … who says the person who uploaded the image to their flickr or whatever and set the permissions to CC even was the copyright holder? Just look to this site to find how prevelant image theft is.

            With micro sotck sites there is at least cursory vetting of contributors and for agencies like IStock there is also a limited liability protection.

            So why risk being sued for 150000$ when you can buy a web sized image for 3$-5$ or a 20MP image for 30$-100$?

          • Melinda Potter

            Good to know Eric. I was wondering how accurate it would be to use advanced search like that. I think I’ll just stick to my “I don’t know. I’ve never had the need” and maybe add in a but, about how it’s better to just get an account going with stock company. I don’t know, but if you are a photographer… make your own, and if it’s in a genre that you are unable to create well (like maybe photographs of your products or something) then hire a fellow tog to take them for you. lol my example is from experience. You should have seen my product shots I took of my prints and finished work UGH! Horrible. If I want to eventually show them online this way, I’m going to need to work harder at it, or hire someone that can do it better than I can.

          • My day job is as a communications officer for a tiny federal department (secretariat actually). I do all our web development, some media monitoring, a lot of desktop publishing, some graphics design … I have to explain this to people making more than twice my salary every other month.

      • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

        Actually…you were okay with that image if you look at the laws…It’s the same as if I cut out an image of a magazine and completely drew over it…It’s only using the image as a base layer….and the image is completely transformed so you can’t even tell what it was….You would have been okay legally but I understand not wanting to take the chance. Plenty of collage artists use materials that are not made by them but manipulated by them…This is the same thing.

        • You are wrong.

          Obama Hope Poster

          In January 2009, after Obama had won the election, Fairey’s mixed-media stenciled portrait version of the image was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its National Portrait Gallery. Later in January 2009, the photograph on which Fairey based the poster was revealed: an April 2006 shot by former Associated Press freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. In response to claims by the Associated Press for compensation, Fairey sued for a declaratory judgment that his poster was a fair use of the original photograph. The parties settled out of court in January 2011, with details of the settlement remaining confidential.

          On February 24, 2012, Fairey pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to destroying and fabricating documents during his legal battle with the Associated Press. Fairey had sued the news service in 2009 after it claimed that the famous poster was based on one of its photos. Fairey claimed that he used a different photograph for the poster. But he admitted that, in fact, he was wrong and tried to hide the error by destroying documents and manufacturing others, which is the source of the one count of criminal contempt to which he pleaded guilty.[4] In September, Fairey was sentenced to two years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and a fine of $25,000

          source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_%22Hope%22_poster

          Just one example. I could find you plenty more.

  • Justin Case

    I can tell you from personal experience how many artists – and even teachers – are unfamiliar with what actually counts as copyright infringement. This is actually a good opportunity to point some people in the right direction. I know that education is not the point of this website, but when someone is willing to learn, I’d still like to be able to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • I’m confused … is disqus borked or something? I can’t edit my replies or reply to anyones comments anymore.

    For people who appear to be confused about what “commercial use” LEGALLY means:
    http://www.thehelpful.com/creativecommons/what-is-commercial-use.html

    • Norman Beer

      Replying to your comment as a test.

  • peaceetc

    This has been a great discussion, and is really what this site is about — education. Thank you, Jeremy, for response to this issue and for taking this as a learning experience.

  • Well, there are actually two issues here. Using them in a classroom for demonstrative purposes could easily be considered fair use. The fact people pay for Photoshop World is irrelevant because you also pay tuition/fees in a college classroom too.

    The second issue is the sale of the work. That is where the line gets crossed.

    • doncalifornia

      Accredited institutions of learning are different than paid workshops put on by commercial event coordinators. C’mon now.

    • “Using them in a classroom for demonstrative purposes could easily be considered fair use.”

      I’ll grant you that … it POSSIBLY could fall under fair use but during the classroom demonstration, one of the “students” asked about the legalities of just taking images from Google and Jeremy told them it was legal … which it’s not.

      Jeremy’s use of the image MIGHT POSSIBLY fall under fair use educational provisions but their students use, outside of the classroom, would not.

      Also read this fromt he copyright office: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

  • Just a Girl

    That’s a really creepy picture in the header to open this thread up to!

    • Lindsay11

      LOL I like it! I can see how it would be startling though.

  • alexander solla

    I’m glad to see you calling him out on this. It is one thing to be an artist, making derivative works, but it is another thing to give out misinformation publicly. Hopefully he’ll acknowledge this and make it right.

    • Lindsay11

      Scroll down…

    • Justin Case

      the great thing about this posting is that he HAS been so reasonable and engaged in the discussion. I have great hope that the fact that he is teaching – and was so willing to learn as well – is a good thing overall, since who better to correct this than someone who already has an audience and seems genuinely willing to learn from his mistakes.

  • Marc W.

    Are comments being removed from here?

    • I don’t think so … I think it;s just Disqus being it’s usual glitchy self.

      • Marc W.

        I’ve been refreshing both on my computer and phone, and comments are gone. I’ll see if they come back.

        • I’m seeing a lot of weirdness happening right now on here … my reply to someone’s comment is now all alone, un-attached to anything and at the bottom of the pile when I put it by “Newest” even though it’s only like 4 hours old.

          • Marc W.

            Ah, I’ve been sorting by Newest, but when I change to Oldest, I see them now. yeah, totally weird.

  • jp photo

    SMH – he actually said it was OK to ‘steal’ photos…… I’m just at a loss for words

  • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

    Actually he transformed the image enough that it is okay… It is basically if you were doing collage and used a photo then drew over it so it was unrecognizable.. This guy is fine soo I would take him off the list..

    • Justin Case

      I take your point, but this is NOT a settled issue. In fact, court cases are being ruled on and then overturned on appeal all the time. Even copyright LAWYERS can’t agree on what is fair use for new artwork and what constitutes copyright infringement.

      I have my own opinion on whether the changes that Jeremy Cowart made to the images he used fall can be justified as ‘fair use.’ But that’s what it is: MY OPINION, and you have yours. Neither one is legally binding. And the point here is more about someone teaching that Google Images is a great place to find images to use for your own work, and that is actually dangerous information which I believe Mr. Cowart now believes and promised to correct in future lectures.

    • Photo Stealers

      Kayla, you may want to look up the laws on derivative works and then the legal debate over the Obama “Hope” image.

  • Kayla Ann Suverkrubbe

    http://cpyrightvisualarts.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/jeff-koons-vs-andrea-blanch/ Just an example of a case. Jeff Koons actually didn’t even change the legs he painted from that one image but he’s okay because he re contextualzed it .You can use other people’s imagery you just have to make sure to change it enough that it is basically considered something completely new. I am not supporting stealing images but using them in collage and changing them completely is not the same as outright copying them…..

    Ya’ll are wrong in this case but I hope you amend the situation so you don’t freak out others who don’t know much about collage and its legality…but I still appreciate what you do on this website.

    • Photo Stealers

      Again, Kayla, you may want to do your own research as well.

  • jeremycowart

    Hey everyone, not sure who will see this but I wanted to ask here again. I’m doing another one of these “collage” videos for a musician friend of mine. And his song has a ton of lyrics in it that I need to mix in imagery for. Where is the best resource or resources to pull from? Am I good to use Google Images as long as I select the option “free to use, share, modify, even commercially”? Any other tips? Thanks in advance.

    • captain-confuzzled

      Hey Jeremy, well, theoretically, you would be good to go with Creative Commons “free to use….” type identifiers, the trick is, that there are many websites out there that steal photos and then claim that they are free to use. It isn’t the easiest thing to find truly reputable free to use pics, but with some online research and healthy skepticism, you may be able to find what you need that meets your needs. Good luck in your searching. In my opinion, Google images itself should not be trusted to be correct about licensing a specific picture. If the image leads you back to the originator and you can check with them directly that is best. There are folks who do put pics up that are free to use, it’s just hard to weed them out of all the fraudsters that are trying to make money from grabbing a bunch of pics, saying they are free and putting ads on their site to make money off the stolen work.

    • Lindsay11

      Can I just say how cool it is that you are learning and researching and even came here to ask for advice/tips? It is just so refreshing after dealing with the crazies, the liars and the multiple personalities to see this.

  • Dockett

    This post is a bit much…. I guess you can make an argument about if it’s right or wrong morally to use photos without permission for composites and art but the truth of the matter is if the final piece/art work is a beyond recognition (<— key term) it is completely legal to use. If it wasn't for the video or whatever no one would have known or even made a case that Jeremy "stole" photos. No one can sue him or even claim that they lost $ or even "attention" as a result of his artwork…. I could take Nike's logo cut it up into a 30 pieces throw it on a canvas add some glitter make million bucks and Nike couldn't touch me. … If i'm wrong let me know.

    • U Really That Dumb?

      You are.
      It’s been spelled out countless times below. Even Jeremy admitted as much and certainly something he confirmed with his attorney.

    • So if I stole/borrow your car … Did a complete paint job and body kit to the point that you could never recognize it. Would that car now legally be mine?

    • Justin Case

      read the post again. The reason it attracted attention was because Jeremy Cowart was teaching people that it was OK to take images from a google search and do what they wanted with them.
      Jeremy very graciously joined in the conversation here and opened up a good conversation regarding the issue. No one posting regularly here is a copyright lawyer, so you can consider most of what is discussed to be opinion.

    • captain-confuzzled

      I get what you are trying to say about ‘beyond recognition’, but the argument doesn’t really hold up if you follow it through. If something is beyond recognition, then the originator may not be able to identify a copyright violation, but that doesn’t necessarily make it legal. Who decides what the threshold for beyond recognition is? Maybe you used a piece of a photo of smoke that I took and I recognize the shape and can match it up per pixel, even if you stretched or distorted it, there are algorithms that can match the pattern. If you truly change work to full non-recognition, then what have you used? the colors? texture? okay, I’ll give you color is probably okay (not sure on that one – but I guess that fits your Nike scenario – although I think some specific colors like Coke red are protected), but texture, don’t know, that very well may be copyrightable as part of a piece.