Using Public Domain paintings in game

GugsGamesGugsGames Member Posts: 54
Does anyone know the legal aspects of using Public Domain paintings in an iPhone game? For example, old paintings like Monet, Da Vinci etc.

Would Apple allow this sort of thing as long as technically they are free to use and not really any different than using public domain sprites etc?


  • tenrdrmertenrdrmer Member, Sous Chef, Senior Sous-Chef Posts: 9,934
    If they are truly public domain then then you can do what ever you want with them.
  • GugsGamesGugsGames Member Posts: 54
    Thanks. I was wondering whether I needed to seek proper legal advice but maybe I am over-thinking things.
  • IsabelleKIsabelleK Member, Sous Chef Posts: 2,807
    My post from other topic, you will find answer on this question there:

    Just my 2 cents (I'm not a native english speaker, so please excuse my poor language), copyright is owned by the creator of: the idea, video, book, photo, picture, drawing, software, other pieces of art etc. The creator doesn't have to write under his work that this is his property and you cannot use it in any way, that exceeds the personal use - His work IS ALWAYS protected by international law.
    You can use anything as the personal use, without a permission. Examples of personal use:
    1. You can show the movie on DVD that you own to anyone from your friends and family, but you cannot rent it, or make public (for example on the Internet or in cinema).
    2. You can have someone's photo on the computer, or in the frame on your desk, you can copy it and give it to your friend, but you can't make any profit from it, or use it in any form of advertisement.

    So, please remember that (shortcut):
    1. Everything that is made from an idea is protected by international copyrights. It include for example: texts (but not short news), photos, drawings, paitings, sculptures, books, videos, movies, scripts, software etc. But it dosn't include things such as: furniture (but not a unique pieces of art furniture), short news etc.
    2. Copyrights are valid, and protected by international law even if the creator doesn't write anything about it (for example: he doesn't have to write that his photo XXXX is protected and he own the copyrights). Copyrights are valid always.
    3. You can use anything that is protected by international copyrights if you use it in the personal use. I wrote few examples above.
    4. Copyrights are valid till the creator dies (I don't remember how many years have to past after his death). After that, his works belongs to everyone. So you can publish for example all books wrote by Shakespeare and make profit from it. Of course there are exceptions.
    5. If the law cannot identify the creator of (for example) a painting or book, the copyrights are no longer valid (see the 4th point).
    6. You can make quotes, but you HAVE to write an author and a source.
    7. You can make a parody of anything, but it could be tought to protect it in the court.
  • GugsGamesGugsGames Member Posts: 54
    Thanks for the help guys.

    Just to state, I am in the UK. Not sure if there are different laws for US and UK.

    My intention is only to use public domain images from artists that died long ago.
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