I've searched around without finding exactly the right answer--and I already know no answer here speaks for the final-say, legally. I'm just looking for general rules of thumb pertaining to my inquiry.
That said, I'm curious how copyright laws work when it comes to use of a reblogged photo.
Tumblr is thick with potluck image blogs. As a freelance fine artist, I love trolling these looking for inspirational images.
In this process, I have come across a multitude of really cool photos I'd love to do paintings from, but they have been blogged and reblogged in some cases hundreds of time, with no reference to where the image originated, much less who owns the copyright.
In such cases, I guess anyone who wants to be legally beyond reproach would just say "fiddlesticks, I guess I will not paint from this image since I cannot directly ask the known owner of the copyright."
However, I think that might be a little... overprotective to say the least. Just the concept some anonymous photographer would ever see the painting is fairly ludicrous, but still, to err on the cautious side, I'd like to know if there's a general rule of thumb as to how to approach this.
In most cases, the blogs are third and fourth or a millionth generations of the image. contacting the blogg owner usually just sends me on a goose chase of backtracking other blogs until if--by some miracle--I get to the original blog, who still just found the .jpg online someplace and has no info of the original photographer.
Would the string of liability go through all the blogs before it gets to me? Technically, wouldn't they all have broken the copyright laws and I merely borrowed from their pool of (illegal) photos...?
Two wrongs don't make a right, I know--but how on earth do you ever get to the original source when something's been basically thrown into the public consciousness of the net...?