Leachman tells BJP that the watermarked image has been taken from his Flickr account or personal website, and has been airbrushed to remove the watermark - upon closer inspection of the image, BJP can confirm that the image used by Mail Online appears to have been airbrushed using Photoshop’s Clone Stamp tool.
Simply, just because a content object is online doesn’t make it fair game. It doesn’t put the work in the “Public Domain.” In the United States, we have something called “Fair Use.” And if you’re in the United States, and producing work in the United States, you can read up on it here. If you’re elsewhere, learn what you can and cannot do… pronto.
I can’t pretend to know global copyright law and certainly can’t pretend to be a lawyer, but I can point you to the Creative Commons which licenses work that those of us on Tumblr should be aware of and use.
If you’re not familiar with the Creative Commons, I highly recommend heading there now to learn about content that you can use and remix for your own purposes.
And if you’re a content creator of any type — be it indie artist or mainstream publisher — I recommend using the Creative Commons to both license and clarify the license on your work.
Our social media, User Generated Content age makes for legitimate confusion but for publications like the Daily Mail: please, you know better. — Michael