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COPYRIGHT [copyright]. An exclusive right conferred by the government on the creator of a work to exclude others from reproducing it, adapting it, distributing it to the public, performing it in public, or displaying it in public. Copyright does not protect an abstract idea; it protects only the concrete expression of an idea. To be valid, a copyrighted work must have originality and some modicum of creativity.
IP Becomes Serious Issue for AP as Legal Team Tracks Copyright Infractions
UK Technical Advisory Service for Images
Qn: We were unable to trace an image's creator, are we able to use the image before permission has been granted?
If possible try to find an alternative image, which you can obtain permission to use. Otherwise, if you have to use an image without the author's permission you should record your attempts to locate the owner as a copyright diligence file. This serves more as a legal defence rather than an alternative to actual permission.