Does anyone know who owns the Zebra Wallpaper that comes with MBP Retina Display (and Mountain Lion)? Although this is my specific task (to hunt down who owns one specific likely copyrighted image), it would be nice to know if there is a way to read the image's metadata or otherwise track in general who owns what image that ships as part of Apple's OS.

  • possible duplicate of What is the license on mac wallpapers? – Thecafremo Apr 5 '13 at 14:14
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    @Thecafremo They are distinct questions. Here, the OP may not have a license for his stated purpose (and likely recognizes that by asking this question) and so wishes to understand who owns the image, presumably to then seek a special license to use it. The other question asks about what existing license is already in place. – Chris W. Rea Apr 5 '13 at 14:25
  • @ChrisW.Rea For the way the title is written, I wouldn't say the OP is trying to reach the actual owner of the image and ask for a license rather that just knowing if he could use that image for commercial purposes. If were like you say, it would make quite a difference, and, indeed, the question won't be a duplicate. – Thecafremo Apr 5 '13 at 14:55
  • @bmike I think you've completely changed the question with your edit. I feel, too, that the OPs intention isn't clear enough for it. – Thecafremo Apr 5 '13 at 15:00
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    @Thecafremo You are totally right. I intended to change it and explore the other side of the issue here. If the OP objects, we can regroup. Chris's answer is awesome. We already have a version of "where do I find the license?" - together they work very well to cover any conceivable need to learn about licensing Apple's content. One is "what can I do with the assets" - the other is "how can I seek added scope to use the image". I don't want to close this as too localized, since there is good knowledge being shared, so the question needed to either be closed or change… I chose to change it. – bmike Apr 5 '13 at 15:04

Apple and/or Apple’s licensors own the images, as stated under Apple's Software License Agreement for Mountain Lion:

The Apple software (including Boot ROM code), any third party software, documentation, interfaces, content, fonts and any data accompanying this License whether preinstalled on Apple-branded hardware, on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. (“Apple”) for use only under the terms of this License. Apple and/or Apple’s licensors retain ownership of the Apple Software itself and reserve all rights not expressly granted to you.

  • Actually, your "Apple owns the images" inference is incorrect. We don't know for certain from the above that Apple owns the image. Apple may have licensed it (whether on a non-exclusive or exclusive basis) from someone else, much in the same way the OP is seeking to do. Notice "Apple's licensors" in your quote above. Those would be people that granted Apple a license for something Apple didn't itself own. Apple likely knows who they are, if Apple doesn't own the image itself. – Chris W. Rea Apr 5 '13 at 14:30
  • @ChrisW.Rea You are completely right. My answer was more focused on answering the commercial usage of the wallpapers, than the actual Who owns them. I'll update it to clarify my statement. – Thecafremo Apr 5 '13 at 14:46
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    This answer would be much better on another question (or asked as a clarifying comment to the main post): apple.stackexchange.com/questions/61410/… – bmike Apr 5 '13 at 14:52
  • After your correction, I'm awarding +1. This answer does highlight one important legal piece: "[Apple etc.] reserve all rights not expressly granted to you." i.e. meaning if one wants the right to use the image in another context, one must expressly seek permission, and receive it ... hence, Apple Legal. – Chris W. Rea Apr 5 '13 at 15:43

Yes. Apple ought to know who owns the rights to that image.

To dereference your question one level further, I suggest the right people to ask or request permission from are Apple Legal. You can contact Apple Legal through the Apple Legal Contact page.

Under "I have a question about", select "Copyright Information". Then fill in the form.

Apple Legal contact page

  • This is great - Apple surely knows who owns each image they shipped, but they might not have their employees forward that information to anyone who comes along and asks for a referral to find a photographer or a single image. In fact, the contract between Apple and the photographer might be exclusive and have a clause whereby Apple or the Photographer is bound to not be identified or identifiable. – bmike Apr 5 '13 at 14:57
  • One will only know by asking. You might be right, but that's conjecture. – Chris W. Rea Apr 5 '13 at 15:30

I tried three methods of finding where to find this image.

The first is a useful site called TinEye.com. It allows you to upload an image and search the web for it. For the zebra image, I didn't find anything.

The second is to open the image in Preview and check the inspector to see if there are any useful info in there. I didn't find any.

After that, you're stuck looking through stock image sites. I did find what appears to be the original on Fotolia, and Fotolia will allow you to license it for commercial use.

I noticed that there's a second, larger zebra in the backdrops. TinEye was much, much more useful here. The larger zebra seems to be from Steve Bloom and he's got a form on the site to enquire about a license.

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