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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 111450
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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A senior consultant with Prochilo Health, a patient

Customer Question

I am Paula Toynton, a senior consultant with Prochilo Health, a patient relations and health communications firm. Our client, Gilead Sciences, is a major sponsor of a unbranded lunch plenary program as part of a community conference. This is a one-time event and no materials will bedistributed.I am seeking information about copyright law with regard to the use of a photo for which we cannot identify the original photographer or publisher. The person is known, but not widely famous so we have not found another suitable photo. He is Craig Harris, an AIDS activist who died in the late 1980's.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

What is your question for us on this? Have you sought to locate the heirs of Mr. Harris to obtain permission, since even though you are a non-profit, you generally cannot use his copyrighted work without consent ? What type of use are you going to make of the photograph, as it could potentially come under fair use?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The image will be used as part of an unbranded educational presentation by a non-profit provider. I have not been able to find the heirs to Mr. Harris. He was an early advocate for Black gay men impacted by HIV. The reference to Mr. Harris' call to be heard is just part of the context of the presentation. He and his advocacy work are not the focus of the presentation.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you are not going to be using it in publications and put it into commerce, but you are using it in your educational presentation, then under the fair use doctrine, use for educational purposes would allow you to use it for your non-profit without violating the copyrights of the photographer.
So, based on the use you describe, for educational purposes, the use would most likely fall into the fair use area and would allow you to use it without consent.

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