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Revision as of 17:46, December 30, 2005 by FrJohn (talk | contribs) (Copyright)

in Greek: εικωνογραφια or εικονογραφια?

o-mega or o-micron?

Omega. Check your lexicon.  :) --Rdr. Andrew 11:19, 11 Mar 2005 (CST)


Question. How is the copyright of an icon determined? Some of the icons are basically reproductions of ancient icons. I'm sure that those icons are governed by other national or international laws or public domain. I have noticed that some icons are copyrighted by a particular church, but why wouldn't they be copyright the iconographer. Can someone explain this?

Incidentally, I have noticed that the OCA has a number of icons. We have used them here. Recently I sent an e-mail to the OCA regarding a particular icon. I cannot find this icon for sale anywhere and wondered if they knew where it came from. They didn't know where the icon came from and believed that the icon was possibly made at the Sofrino workshops outside of Moscow.

I was told that I could always save the icon and print out a copy for framing or laminating. Is this not some kind of copyright violation or does it qualify as fair use? I know that this is an extremely common practice.

They also said that the icons they display come from parish churches, files sent by readers, books, and catalogues. If they don't know where they get the pictures from is that not a copyright problem?

Joe 22 Dec 2005 13:26

Re: Icons and Copyright

Hi Joe,

I don't claim to be an expert in this, but my impression is that icons are not copyrighted (legally, I suppose the copyright would default to the author, but ecclesiologically speaking I can't imagine this) -- but the images, photos, reprints, etc. of icons are. This is all the more the case with the ancient icons.

I think printing out a copy for personal use would definitely fall under fair use whatever the case. I can't imagine that anyone would want to stop you from that, especially if you can't buy a copy. But, for example, it wouldn't be fair to copy all of HTM's icons to your own site, because this is their livelihood. I think a lot of copyrigt law is just common sense -- although some of it can be counterintuitive... and here, with icons, were balancing an ecclesiastical culture with a certain attitude of free use (for those who use them appropriately) or corporate ownership (i.e. God and the Church). This is certainly an interesting question. I suppose there have been articles written in legal journals on similar issues. Maybe a lawyer can help us (though this is more a curiosity than an issue I'm bruningly concerned about).

As far as is concerned, I think that as long as we have their permission to use an image from their site, I'm comfortable just citing the source. If in doubt too, we could always put "unverified" on it.

May others would want to chime in here too. Yours, — FrJohn (talk)

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