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The Tagxedo FAQ states:

Q: What is the licensing requirement for using images created or derived from Tagxedo?

A: The images created by Tagxedo, and their derivatives, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License 3.0, and must be attributed to http://www.tagxedo.com. The images created by Tagxedo and their derivatives are free for personal use, including usage on personal blogs, non-profit organizations, and non-profit education institutions, subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License. For more information on licensing please contact licensing@tagxedo.com

If I created the image and the fonts' authors claim no rights over my use of their font, should the image not be mine? Is this permissible under United States copyright law?

  • I opened this question to nitpick about the title: software cannot claim copyright at all. But I realize that the question title reflects the ambiguity noted by user6726 in the text. – phoog Oct 18 '16 at 15:55
  • @phoog Was this question closed? I don't recall receiving a notification about that. – EMBLEM Oct 18 '16 at 19:20
  • No, it wasn't closed. When I said "opened" I meant that I chose it from the list and opened it in my browser. – phoog Oct 18 '16 at 19:22
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Theoretically it could (the case of Tagxedo is not clear). First, anything created by Tagxedo enjoys copyright protection, be it software, fonts, images or text. They may give you a license to use any of this material, which can require you to attribute the thing to them. The FAQ is unclear as to whether "images created by Tagxedo" refers to material created by the company, or with the software. The former would be perfectly standard. The odd interpretation would be that if you use the program to create an image, you must attribute the image to Tagxedo (i.e. "was created using Tagxedo"). That does not give them ownership of the image, though (unless the terms specifically say that whatever you create, they own). This is possible, since it may be in the EULA (if you can link to the actual EULA that would be helpful), and the terms of the EULA govern the permitted usages of software. Unless specifically prohibited by law -- and I don't know of any such law, in the US, yet. If the terms of the EULA are not clear (i.e. if these two interpretations are equally available in the context of the EULA), the ambiguity is construed against the interest of the EULA-writer.

  • The intended interpretation is the second. See also their terms of service which make a similar claim. – EMBLEM Sep 18 '16 at 18:47
  • The wording of the EULA does not convey the intended meaning and rule out the unintended meaning, so one could invoke contra proferentem (with risk) and act as though things made by you are not subject to the attribution requirement. A successful EULA with that intent would explicitly say that user transfers all rights to Taxedo-Company. It probably depends on how much creative control the user has over the final output. – user6726 Sep 18 '16 at 19:25
  • If you assume that its authors were writing with precision, the text isn't particularly ambiguous. "Created by X" means that X is an actor responsible for creation. After all, nobody would say that a document was "created by Microsoft Word." Therefore, in the phrase "created by Tagxedo," the name denotes the company, not the software. Perhaps the image was created by them using an automated process that translated instructions from a user (e.g., a list of words) into an image, but whatever the mechanism, they seem to be saying that they are the creators of the image, not the user. – phoog Oct 18 '16 at 16:01
  • You can assume whatever you want, the question is how terms are interpreted under the principle contra proferentem. The underlying issue is not what the offeror was thinking in making the offer, it is whether that intent was successfully communicated to the acceptee and thus they have an agreement. – user6726 Oct 18 '16 at 16:57
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What you posted is actually a license. Which means it is something that may or may not give you permission beyond what copyright law gives you. A license cannot take away from copyright law.

So you can read their EULA, and you can see what they allow you to do even if copyright law doesn't give you that right. Then you can read copyright law. Most likely you need to decide: Are the images the software creates derived works from their software or not? Impossible to say without knowing exactly what the software does.

PS. Can a license be conditional? Sure it can. However, "we allow you to use this software if XYZ" in a license is likely irrelevant; you bought the software and have the right to use it by copyright law. "You can make additional copies and use them if XYZ" is different because you don't have the right by copyright law alone to make additional copies.

  • "A license cannot take away from copyright law": but can a license be conditional? For example: "We allow you to use this software on the condition that any content you create using the software be subject to the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License." – phoog Oct 18 '16 at 15:48
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Technically No software cant claim copyright as copyright can only be claimed by a human (or business) as seen in the case where a macaque monkey took a photo which had its copyright claimed by David Slater but the US courts ruled that the photo is copyright free due to having not been made by a human.

Alternatively it could be claimed that the copyright is owned by the software's copyright holder as they created the rules that produced the work, this can be seen in the case Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd [2006] where it was ruled that the person who creates the rules of how the artistic work was created owns the work not someone who put the inputs for the work.

TL;DR Software cant own copyright but a human can claim copyright of thing created by a machine they have copyright over.

So no the image is not yours, look at Nova Productions Ltd v Mazooma Games Ltd [2006]

  • I found that case and I'm not sure how it is relevant. It concerns whether software clones are infringing, not the copyright holder of data a program generates. – EMBLEM Oct 19 '16 at 18:44

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