Original vs. Modified Artwork: Three Guidelines

While creating our own art is most often preferred, sometimes the better choice is to modify someone else’s art.

Proceed along three guidelines:

#1.  Begin with Creative Commons image search, but don’t assume that just because the image showed up on a Creative Commons search that it’s really free to use. We all know how easy it is to upload or share pictures online. That movie poster for the blockbuster that came out a week ago? Not likely Creative Commons already.

#2.  Taking someone else’s work and cropping it or removing part of the background is an insufficient modification.

Here is an original image. Copyright owner indicated in caption:

Japanese plane shot down as it attempted to attack USS KITKUN BAY. Near Mariana Islands, 06/1944 (National Archives identifier 520650)
Japanese plane shot down as it attempted to attack USS KITKUN BAY. Near Mariana Islands, 06/1944 (National Archives identifier 520650)

Here is another version of the same image. Cropping is NOT modification:

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This is modification:

Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945, by Multi-Man Publishing, cover design by Nicolás Eskubi, based on an original image (National Archives identifier 520650)
Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945, by Multi-Man Publishing, cover design by Nicolás Eskubi, based on an original image (National Archives identifier 520650)

Can you count at least three modifications made to the original image?

#3.  In any case, make sure you give credit to the original artist or owner of the creative work.

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