Defunct Clipart Program/Collections

Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 01:14 am
Hi Folks,

I posted this on Reddit but no one has responded. Thought I'd give it a try here...

Around 2000, I purchased Hemera's "Big Box of Art" (BBoA) Version 3.5 - 350,000 "royalty-free" images on 19 CDs. I registered the program with Hemera. The "About" box indicates I am the owner and registrant, followed by a license number.

I've been using it since for school papers (I'm a school teacher), PPT presentations, posters, games, etc. All strictly local stuff, usually one-time use (for decorating school papers and classroom handouts, etc.).

Lately I've been writing books about karate, some children's books, and poetry. There is a lot of good stuff in the BBoA program I want to use to illustrate my poetry and children's stories, but after I bought the program so long ago, Hemera was bought out by "Jupiterimages", which is/was a subsidiary of Getty Images. Neither Jupiterimages nor Hemera seem to exist any longer. I wrote to Getty and asked about the royalty-free images in the BBoA, and they don't seem to have any current connection with the program and couldn't advise me regarding commercial usage (as in book publications, etc.).

So -- can I use the images commercially with no problem, since I purchased and registered the apparently now-defunct program? When I bought it, the ad indicated the images can be used in business, school, advertisements, etc. But I want to be sure, since no one seems to own the copyrights to this program anymore...

Ideas? Comments? Is there some link to Hemera I may have missed and can ask there?

There are several links on the Internet Archives "Wayback Machine" but they are merely archived sites, no longer active. There is no response to any e-mail sent to any of the provided addresses.

I would like to know before I begin placing images in the book pages prior to publishing...

Regards and good health to all,

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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 04:29 am
copywright dates considered? is royalty free the sme thing over there?
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 05:51 am
I have no idea regarding copyright dates. The software itself shows copyrights 1997-2001, but nothing mentioned about the artwork. If someone owns the rights, they may have extended the dates for the software and/or the clipart.

Getty, the last owner of Hemera/Jupiterimages, says only "I'm sorry, but "The Big Box of Art", Version 3.5 is not the data we sell, so we have no way to check if the license is still valid. Therefore, we are unable to answer whether it can be used for your desired purpose."

Royalty-free usually means a one-time purchase of the right to use a graphic for some specific purpose without having to pay further royalties each time the image is used. It could be commercial, or one-time use, or for publications. The rights purchased can be for a limited time, or indefinite. It could be for limited or unlimited use.

It's complicated and messy when the company no longer exists, and no-one seems to acknowledge the rights to the program.

I hope someone out there has publishing experience and can direct me to a source of safe and reliable information regarding this dilemma. All the digital clipart I want to use is in this program, all in one place. Searching for the individual pieces on-line would take forever. Plus I could be faced with a fee (sometimes hundreds of dollars -- per item!) for commercial rights.

Just going ahead and using them regardless, I could find myself slapped with a copyright lawsuit anytime between publication date and years from now...
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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 06:26 am
You could ask a copyright lawyer. Presumably you'd have to pay, but since it would be a brief consultation the bill probably wouldn't be astronomical.

Another thought: Could you buy a more modern version of this same sort of program? That might serve your purposes equally as well, and you would be able to clarify your standing regarding rights.
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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 07:30 am
You purchased the rights to use the images from the original company. You have the rights to those versions of the artwork as outlined in the original contract. It should state if you can use the images commercially.

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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 02:13 pm
Hi Folks, looks like I'm out of luck with this...

Borderbund, which publishes the famous Printmaster series (Printmaster Gold, Silver, Platinum, Deluxe, etc.) sent the following, stating that this applies to their property, but is a very common License Agreement used by most graphics and clip-art distributors.

In it we find (beside the usual copyright information on the software itself):

All content contained in the Software, including, but not limited to characters, designs, text, photos, clip art, fonts, graphics, templates, sounds, videos and projects contained in the Software (the “Properties”) are either owned by or used under license by Riverdeep and are protected under trademark, copyright, and other applicable laws. Any and all unauthorized use of the Properties is strictly prohibited. You may not sell any Property or any item containing or carrying a copy of any Property. Subject to the restrictions described below, you may make copies of the Properties for use in home entertainment and projects, for educational purposes, in advertisements, public or private presentations, business communications, multimedia presentations, and other similar uses. For example, subject to the restrictions described below, you may use the Properties to create posters, stationery, greeting cards, signs, invitations, calendars, reports, catalogs, brochures and newsletters.
(Among the restrictions we find these:)
Sell any item on which any Property is copied or otherwise printed.

So, it's pretty clear that I can use BBoA for fun school projects and newsletters, etc., as I have been, but not for any item that it being sold -- including publications such as books, etc.

Apparently it doesn't matter if the company is defunct or not, unless the present owners of the software specifically states that the Property (artwork) has been released to the public domain and/or is free for commercial use without attribution.

So, last night I found several sites that offer "free for commercial use" and attribution-free clip-art. I'll just have to spend some time looking through them and finding something equal to the great stuff in the BBoA program, I guess.

Thanks everybody, for your help and suggestions. If you are on the verge of publishing, I hope this helps you with any illustration questions you might have, too.
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2021 06:24 pm
At least you found out now instead of using it and getting sued.
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