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For a school project I created a website. The website is public, therefore anyone can access it if they know the address.

On my website I use images that I don't have permission to use. (Found on with Google image search)

Would the owner of the images be able to sue me? The images are solely used for educational purposes, and I don't make any money from the website.

(I live in Denmark, EU)

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    People can try to sue you for anything. The good question is if such a lawsuit would be successful. – Philipp Nov 16 '15 at 15:06
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    You need to be more specific about the type of images, whether they are trademarked ( Disney), and what the license type was for use. – gracey209 Nov 16 '15 at 15:16
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    There is a copyright exception for "illustration for teaching or scientific research, provided the source, including the author's name, is acknowledged," but whether that applies to your specific use would be a matter for the court. You did properly attribute it, right? – ColleenV parted ways Nov 16 '15 at 16:00
  • @gracey209 trademark is unlikely to be relevant unless the website is selling something, which it sounds like it is not. – phoog Nov 16 '15 at 18:40
  • I don't know if there's any specific license on the images. My thought is that if I don't earn any money, the owner haven't lost anything or missed any opportunities to earn money. – KaareZ Nov 16 '15 at 20:57
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http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/dk/dk091en.pdf is the Copyright Law in English for Denmark. You should probably try to find a Danish version to ensure the translation is accurate.

Chapter 2 lists the exemptions from the general rule that you need the copyright owner's permission to use their IP.

Unfortunately, the usage you have made does not meet the requirements for private use (s12): digital copies may only be shared among the members of one household, placing them on the web extends beyond your household.

It may meet the requirements of educational use (s13) providing that your school has met the requirements for Extended Collective Use (s50). For photographs, this seems unlikely, such arrangements are usually limited to songs and television works.

Under Chapter 6b, you are permitted to use "orphaned works", however, this requires that you have made a diligent search for the owners and have been unable to either identify or locate them.

Copyright violation is subject to both penal sanctions (fines and in egregious violations imprisonment) (s76) and damages (s83).

TL;DR

Yes, you could be sued. Yes, the copyright holder would probably be successful. No, it is extremely unlikely they would bother.

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  • Did you overlook section 23 (1)? – phoog Nov 18 '15 at 18:40
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It depends rather on the nature of your school project. If your project is a "critical presentation" then section 23 (1) of the law comes into play:

Works of art and works of a descriptive nature, cf. section 1(2), which have been made public may be used in critical or scientific presentations in connection with the text in accordance with proper usage and to the extent required for the purpose. Reproduction is not allowed for commercial purposes.

So, if your project is, for example, a critical analysis of something that the photographs illustrate, then you can use the pictures.

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It is okay okey to use it for educational purposes (using it or implementing it but not getting any profit or money off of it) unless it says that you can just use it without any kind of distribution, which rarely happens so the most probable thing is that you can use it for educatinal purposes or marketing unless stated othrwise in the description of the asset.

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    No it is not generally okay to "use it for educational purposes or marketing", particularly if you happen to be in the business of education or marketing. I think you are thinking of a "fair use" defence which is context specific. – Dale M Nov 18 '15 at 3:31

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