Ruth and Public Domain Images

Ruth in field of Boaz

This artwork of Ruth and Boaz is by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, a German painter who lived from 1794-1872. It seems to be a study for an oil painting of Ruth in the Fields of Boaz.

This post is an introduction to a series of posts by Ilana-Davita and me on Ruth and the holiday of Shavuot. Read an introduction to Shavuot by Ilana-Davita.

And now, about public domain art: When is it OK to put up someone else’s art? When is it stealing?

Works of art that are from the 19th Century or earlier are, generally speaking, in the public domain. But your best bet is to go to a site like Wikimedia, and take art that declares that it is in the public domain or under a license that allows you to use it. For more recent images, you can use artwork or photos that are under a license such as GNU Free Documentation License.

There is also a concept called fair use. Fair use means you can use it for educational purposes but not for commercial purposes. So you could argue that you could use one of my paintings if you were trying to teach something.

But I got a better idea. If you want to use something that belongs to someone else, ask. It’s just common courtesy. And give credit back to the person to whom it belongs.

This is very simplified; if you want to study copyright law, you could come up with a much more complicated discussion on images and use on the web.

More about public domain art and reproductions here.

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