copyrights and printed marketing materials?
I found an image online, it appears to be 2 photos that were photoshopped together. (It is a tropical bird in the snow) I would like to use it in a brochure but, I can't find the author in order to get permission. The image is on the web in multiple places, mostly on sites desktop wallpaper sites. Some sites claim all images are copyrighted, some claim GNP (General Public License), and some are "artists" who have further manipulated the image (a tiny bit) and claim it as their own.
The brochure is going to be sent to buyers but, not individual customers. The image is going to be very faint, almost transparent, and text and other (royalty free) images will be transposed on top. There will be no prices in the brochure.
I have searched for royalty free versions of the 2 images that make up the one photoshopped image but, haven't had any luck finding those either.
Is it illegal for me to use the image I found online in a commercial printed material used for marketing?
I am not trying to not pay, it's just that I have been searching for 3 hours and can't find the image's owner.
I appreciate your help.
Unless you can surely say that the image in question is in public domain or under creative commons with commercial use allowed, I wouldn't advise using it in a commercial marketing material. Of course, the chances are nobody will go after you if you do use the image but you can't be 100% sure. Better be safe than sorry, especially if it concerns your business. Go to any reputable royalty-free marketplace that sells stock photos, get 2 similar images, and blend them together. Won't be the same but hopefully similar enough. Images of tropical birds and snow shouldn't be hard to find.