I am trying to put together a public agricultural image database of corn and soybeans, to train convolutional neural networks. The main method of image collection will be through taking pictures of various fields in the growing season. The images will be uploaded to a public data sharing site which will be accessible by many.

However, I could get much more images compiled if I were to take some off of, say, Google Images. If there anything wrong with this? Would there be any issues with copywright infringements if I find the images on a publicly-available search engine? I need a lot of images, so I thought this would be a good method of increasing my image numbers.

  • $\begingroup$ There are many public available stuff that is not exactly legal. Many comic images for example can be found in Google but in many cases they are copyrighted and can't be distributed. In this case however, it is because comics are sold. I don't know about the particular case of fields, but unless you take a picture from a sort of copyrighted book or something, you shouldn't have any issues. The best way is to find a place with many of them and ask owner for permission. If they are images from like imgur uploaded by original owner, those should be fine $\endgroup$ – juvian Feb 28 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ This is not really related to AI; there might be a better place to ask this question. $\endgroup$ – Oliver Mason Mar 2 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @OliverMason It is related to building a dataset for an AI image classifier, so I do believe that it is related in that way. $\endgroup$ – ihb Mar 3 at 2:08

I believe this is covered under Section 107 of the Copyright Act states:

the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

This section was intended to enable utilization of copyrighted material where that utilization is in the public interest. As long as you stay within the bounds as stated above you should not be considered in violation of a copyright.

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