Honesterotica and the fair use of images

As anyone who visits this site regularly will know, the amount of material we have brought together over the years is pretty phenomenal – more than 500 artists, nearly 1,500 portfolios, and well over 50,000 images. We put a lot of effort into ensuring that our images are the best possible quality, often scanning them directly from the original printed sources.

We regularly get asked whether we have ever had any issues with artists, galleries or publishers objecting to putting images which they consider ‘theirs’ on the website. The simple answer, maybe surprisingly, is no. In all the years we have been putting material together for the site nobody has ever asked us to remove images because we had no right to reproduce them.

Here’s why we think this is the case.

Around a third of our images come from sources which are in the public domain, where the artist has been dead for more than seventy years, but all the rest are in copyright, meaning that the only way that their artwork can be reproduced is using a mechanism generally called ‘fair use’.

The specifics of copyright and ‘fair use’ vary slightly between legislations, but broadly speaking copyright protects artworks of all kinds against unauthorised use by others. However, it is subject to a number of exceptions designed to assure space for future creativity and the dissemination of ideas, examples, and information about artists. Of these, ‘fair use’ is the most important and the most flexible.

Our understanding of ‘fair use’, in the context of honesterotica, incorporates these four principles:

  • The use of an artist’s work should not conflict with their legitimate interests.
  • The purpose of the use is strictly non-commercial, meaning that it is not intended for, or directed towards, any commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
  • The use of an artist’s material, together with any commentary on it, is fair and balanced.
  • Full credit is given to the artist and any of the artist’s agents such as galleries and publishers.

Specifically, the American College Art Association, in its useful guidelines relating to fair use which you will find here, clarifies that ‘fair use’ includes the reproduction of images on websites that are primarily information-led, research-oriented, and clearly non-commercial in nature. Websites like honesterotica.

That’s ‘fair use’. But we go beyond that to do our best not to infringe our artists’ interests, or those of their publishers.

  • When we can and have contact details, we ask artists if they would like to have their work included on the website. It has to be said that we often receive no response (we know how busy people can be and how emails easily get lots, mislaid, or forgotten), but we do our best, and love hearing directly from artists.
  • We always include living artists’ links to their websites, Instagram and Facebook accounts as appropriate, and where we quote websites or interviews we provide a link to the original source.
  • When we include images from a book which is in print and available, we only include part of the book, and encourage you to go and buy it if you like what you see.

We would like to believe (and have no evidence to the contrary) that, for many of the artists whose work we showcase on the honesterotica website, our function is to introduce their work to a wider audience. Thus you could see us as a free advertising service for artists whose work deserves to be seen by as many people as possible – at least that’s our rationale!

And of course, if you are an artist and feel that your work has been used inappropriately on our site then do let us know. We don’t always need to have the last word.

Using images sourced from honesterotica

It should go without saying that if you want to use images from our website for your own use – for research or for use on your own website – exactly the same considerations about ‘fair use’ apply to you as they do to us.

What Happens to You if you Don’t Acknowledge – image by Sardax courtesy of www.honesterotica.com

So if you want to use one or more of the images from the site that’s fine, as long as:

  • you don’t use them for any commercial purpose or advantage.
  • you don’t alter them.
  • you acknowledge the artist, and it would be courteous also to acknowledge honesterotica as the immediate source of the image.

This way you honour the principles we work by, you benefit from the use of some amazing images, and honesterotica gets properly acknowledged.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t save your favourites into a folder for your own enjoyment, though the honesterotica website is so easy to navigate, with new material added almost daily, that you’ll almost certainly find it easier to bookmark us so you can always find us again quickly!