Copyright Clarification

This site respects the rights of the original holders.  We have chosen to be ultra conservative and not try to figure out where the fuzzy grey line of fair use on the web is.

If we have made a mistake with an image, please let us know.  If we are sharing a link to your web and you wish us to remove it, please let us know.  We will take care of the problem quickly.  Write .

First, we use only photos that we have specific written permission to use.  This applies to movie shots, exhibit photos, artwork.  Therefore, no movie shots.

Second,  for our links... we are not creating any *new* pictures and introducing them into the "wild".   We share links that we have seen on other public sites.

A clarification on copyright.

  • Creating a "screen cap" off the movie... is a violation of copyright. Providing the link just for this site really creates the same copyright violation for the site. As stated in the header of the Yahoo group, we are honoring copyright. 
  • Scanning images directly out of a book, putting them up on a web pages and posting the links here, bluntly breaks the copyright laws. There is zero gray area of "fair use" when doing this.  LOTR_Costume is not going to participate in distributing these images. The posts with the links to the pages have been deleted.
  • Please just don't create a *new* picture from an adjustment and post  the link here.  There are over 2000 pictures out in the wild now. Do a little research and post the link from one of those.

Now... before everyone gets upset.... we're not telling anyone what they can put on their own web site.  This is just for our Yahoo group and web site.  Nor, are we  trying to dictate what you e-mail between you and your friends. 


We know that copyright is ignored most times now-a-days.... but there are a number of author and artists and (to put it bluntly) people who work for the companies that put these films out. So if "respecting" copyright doesn't work... just accept that those are the rules here.

Let's talk about the use of copyright for a moment. The copyright laws exist to protect intellectual property and the folks that create it. It give them exclusive control over what they produce. This protects things like big studios, but also protect the little guys... folks like the authors and artists that produce these works... and earn their bread, butter and rent money based on the copies that sell.

If this confuses you, please click here for some dry reading. It does spell it all out.


So... if you're not sure about what is legit to link... write  before you post them and ask. We know that enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of everyone and you want to share your finds/scans with the world... but please do it within the rules. Sometimes, it's a bit harder BUT when playing here, please play by the rules. (Also your friends will be glad they don't have to listen from another lecture from a cranky cat again.)

And a side note, our costume web site now has over 80mb worth of images and drawings... all completely used following copyright rules. Yes, getting permission is more time consuming and limits a bit with the photos but it *respects* those people who take the images and share them with us in the first place. The same goes for the wonderful artists we've got on our site drawing for us. By this time, these folks are your friends. Would you just dis them and steal their stuff??? Think about it in this context... hang the legal angle for a moment. 

Just please think before you decide what to link... or post a pic.


Sites in Play (for linking)

Since we're not using pictures... we just use link to folks who have pictures posted out there in the wild.

How do we make a decision about what is in play???  What's public and what's private???  It's a bit complex, but here's the basics from a Yahoo post.

Long answer ahead... but I decided to spell it out all...

"public links"... maybe a bad term. Sites considered "in play" are sites that are very public... both high traffic and high profile... like...

  • official news and "entertainment" sites (Entertainment weekly, IMDB, ANY newspaper). If it's large business of any kind, it's game.
  • official sellers of licensed merchandise.
  • major national LOTR sites
    • Thouses that are set up for large amounts of traffic. When we take grab a link, we grab it with the adds if at all possible. That way when we click over, they get credit for the "view".
    • Examples: (TORN), (FP),, (German), (French), etc. Basically, international big boys.
  • Large LOTR fan sites that "advertise" for general traffic.
    • They will be linked off of things like TORN, or other major fan points. They hit discussion lists fairly actively saying, "come look at me". Basically, they're recruiting traffic and advertising. Some are mostly images - adjusted pictures, screen caps, etc. Some are mostly news with some "exclusive". Normally done by one or two folks for pure devotion. (Check her out if you haven't yet, wonderful stuff), (has "special sources" and releases "exclusives" ) etc. If a "large" site is commenting about too much traffic for what they can afford... then they're not "in play" as a courtesy.
  • Large fan sites for specific characters.
    • Harder definition here. First check, are there traffic issues and are they "recruiting" traffic. Are they linked to major things like TORN, or only a link of two off the top of the food chain? Are they the top for a specific star???    And, what are their linking policies? This is somewhat of a hard call... and part of the reason we're running slow on getting characters out of the scratch pad and back into the main section. If they specifically "advertise/announce" on TORN... they're looking for traffic... and know the thousands of hits they're going to get... and can handle it. (We're specifically asked TORN not to mention us yet because we're NOT ready for the hoard of lookie-loos to just pop in. If someone needs us... we're
      number one in google.. they find us.)
    • An example in Legolas's. Some of the fan sites like being very popular but are taking too much traffic. In one case, I'm down to one link from them and looking for an alternate. Some are things like geocity and often over their limits of "free space", they don't mind... but the link would only be available part of the time, so the site wouldn't be in play, unless it was an absolutely needed link and we just cope. Other sites that are free, or near free automatically link to "promotion/subscription" page if you link directly to an image. So, though are out... though on the chalkboard we've got a few of those mentioned and their big html page as well. They're only
      good for general looks at costumes and not specific examples. Another site wants links just to their html. We won't move Legolas out of the chalk pad until we've resolved these. 
  • Photos sites --- stretching it... but we're using Karzen's right now. However, I actively replace when I can. That's a free site and while it's a wonderful photo gallery, (1) I don't know how long the photo company will let her have that much free space, and (2) "when" (note the not "if") those sites will be the first that go when the studios do a "cleanup" because some of those photos have a traceable marker that web spiders can find.. and
    they're stored by a "3rd party". There are a few others, we're got one or two links too... but
    they're pics we know are out in the "wild", we just can't find a current link to. Those also get replaced.
  • Photo sites of exhibits - I post links of stuff I've googled. If they've indexed them clean enough to google up though all of the LOTR stuff, they're looking for traffic.... in most cases. Any big sites, I write them and ask for permission. In every case they have said copy and use the photos. One site has asked for no referrals, the other, we share links they want. IF you find these, let me know. We can cut down and enhance those when we get permission. is where we have our current yummy photos from.
  • Raw resource sites, i.e. fabric, leather, makeup, elvish (but not exact copy) jewelry. etc.


If we make a mistake on any of the "public sites" not wanting traffic, we pull links when contacted.

Just about everything listed is in play... exception are a couple of sites that we can't link to the pics... but their galleries are too cool to ignore... like,,

Not in play...

  • Any sites recreating exact LOTR "stuff" for sale
    • Legal issues there beyond copyright. So, discouragingly that means, the stupid, poorly done Halloween costumes sites are OK (when licensed) but not the others.
  • Private sites...
    • Something put up by someone just admiring a pic (or 4). Example, There was a totally marvelous scan of Legolas in detail we had nothing else like it. It was obviously a person's personal site, complete w/ blog. In her notes, she say if you like it, copy it and credit. Since the original source is copyrighted, doesn't matter how much she changed it, the image is still out of play for us. The link is high rez... much clicking affects her bandwidth. If you like it, bookmark it for personal. That link was removed before the research was finalized and moved into the main section. Yes, we loose the picture completely. That Legolas picture is far too large. Much activity would impact her. 
    • We may temporarily leave a "private" link in the scratch pad while we're researching. It's often enables us to find what we need because some of the private sites have things organized better for collecting. Great place to start research... but step two is finding a big/high traffic site that has the same. Most will be somewhere in TORN or FP or on of the major sites.  It's the screen caps and the scans that create the problem. Yes, extra work, but we're trying our utmost to keep the traffic where folks are looking for it. We're going to go THUD when we go "public" and don't want to affect anyone who's not expecting it. They've posted pic where they think they'll get a person or 20 to look at it, but won't be expecting a huge bandwidth spike. 
  • private groups w/ web board - are not in play. 
    • We may be able to access them w/o logins or join much like yahoo group, BUT they're more mean to be a 'share among friends'... These are most like prop recreation groups... whole other different copyright game... and we're here just to play... not create links that could create issues for anyone down the line.
  • ANY picture scanned or screen caped specifically for costume studying.... This is because it breaks our basic copyright rule... no new images into the wild.  Sketches are fine.
  • Exception to "private", if they've posted the pic just for general fan use... (and not just for us), and specifically give permission to link.  ... and they are high traffic enough that this is not a site created for "our" connivance.

Anyone still reading?????

Clear as mud???

How do we choose what goes on the general character board??

  • 1st step.. find the image period, start the research.
  • 2nd, step get drawings we need,
  • 3rd, find an in play link for general board that are the same or almost as good.

Specific questions on a specific site... ask me off line... you don't have to phrase some of the answers as PC or dance around the issues. General clarification... ask on the board to help the other folks that are scratching their head right now going this is too bloody complex. (BTW, I agree... but how else do we play it so we can keep copyright clear and not step on any toes that don't want us to come a-clickin'???? )



This page was last updated 04/22/08