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      Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data

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      Research Ideas and Outcomes

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Taxonomy is the discipline responsible for charting the world’s organismic diversity, understanding ancestor/descendant relationships, and organizing all species according to a unified taxonomic classification system. Taxonomists document the attributes (characters) of organisms, with emphasis on those can be used to distinguish species from each other. Character information is compiled in the scientific literature as text, tables, and images. The information is presented according to conventions that vary among taxonomic domains; such conventions facilitate comparison among similar species, even when descriptions are published by different authors. There is considerable uncertainty within the taxonomic community as to how to re-use images that were included in taxonomic publications, especially in regard to whether copyright applies. This article deals with the principles and application of copyright law, database protection, and protection against unfair competition, as applied to images. We conclude that copyright does not apply to most images in taxonomic literature because they are presented in a standardized way and lack the individuality that is required to qualify as ‘copyrightable works’. There are exceptions, such as wildlife photographs, drawings and artwork produced in a distinctive individual form and intended for other than comparative purposes (such as visual art). Further exceptions may apply to collections of images that qualify as a database in the sense of European database protection law. In a few European countries, there is legal protection for photographs that do not qualify as works in the usual sense of copyright. It follows that most images found in taxonomic literature can be re-used for research or many other purposes without seeking permission, regardless of any copyright declaration. In observance of ethical and scholarly standards, re-users are expected to cite the author and original source of any image that they use.

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            Estimating tiger Panthera tigris populations from camera-trap data using capture—recapture models

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              Camera trap, line transect census and track surveys: a comparative evaluation

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Research Ideas and Outcomes
                RIO
                Pensoft Publishers
                2367-7163
                March 06 2017
                March 06 2017
                : 3
                : e12502
                Article
                10.3897/rio.3.e12502
                © 2017

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