Posts Tagged NASA images
My favorite NASA image is AS8-14-2383, taken by William Anders on Christmas Eve, 1968. More commonly known as Earthrise, this photograph was taken the very first time humans orbited the Moon! The image of the Earth as a pale blue dot rising over the desolate surface of the Moon has been credited with birthing the environmental movement. Earthrise is a public domain image, free for use by anyone because the photograph was taken by a US astronaut on a NASA mission. Under the copyright law of the time, the federal government could not claim copyright in photos, writings, movies, and other creative works it made. The same holds true in modern copyright law. 17 USC §105 denies copyright protection for works produced by the federal government.
Earthrise has been copied, revised, adapted for other media, integrated into other pictures, and modified countless times by a multitude of people. Similarly, other NASA images, like the beautiful pictures captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, are often wildly popular in their original forms as well as inspiration for modified creative endeavors. Despite using an image not granted copyright protections, makers of pieces based in whole or in part on government creations may have limited copyright protection because they have produced “derivative” or “compilation” works.