Copyright issues (perhaps slightly off topic...sorry)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Eventer, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Eventer

    Eventer TPF Noob!

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    Okay having a wee dilemma i think. im branching out into my artwork (i draw horses - in a nutshell) and Im enquiring about a contract to draw for a gallery in Auckland.
    But.. At this stage I just draw whatever i feel like, photos I find off the internet, deviantart or whatever, because no one sees them apart from my self, or school related stuff, unless its a bought peice in which the client sends me there photo to draw.)
    but If i was to become more recconsised I cant be drawing photos without permission can I?
    To draw a photo that isnt mine, would i have to have something like written concent from the photographer that I have permission to draw, publicly display and sell this piece?
    :confused:
     
  2. Boomn4x4

    Boomn4x4 TPF Noob!

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    Copyright laws are a VERY gray area, especially for what you are inquiring about. Copyright laws alow you to recreate copyrighted work so long as you put a resonable amount of your own unique creative work into it.

    Unfortunatly, that is about as far as the law is defined.

    What that means to you is that it would be up to each individual judge to determine if what you drew had a reasonable amout of your own creative work into it. You can precisly redraw an image so that it looks exactly like the original, and one judge may say that since it was a photo, and you put the creative effort into drawing it, that it is not a violation of a copyright law... where as another judge could say that your work didn't significantly alter the image enough into your own creative work and would say you were guilty of a copyright infringement.

    The bottom line, however, is do you really want to take the risk of an original artist taking you to court in the first place. If you redrew an image without permission for the original artist, that person has every right to take you to court. Depening on the judge, you may win, you may lose.... but you'll still be out the time and the effort.

    A fairly famous on-going case right now is the Associated Press V Fairey... I'm sure you are familar with the very famous Barack Obama "Hope" poster. Fairey took a photograph owned by the AP and put his own spin on it to make the "Hope" poster. The Ap is suing Fairey saying that he didn't make a significant change to the original photograph. Recently, the judge presiding over the case made a statement requesting that the two parties settle out of court. Even the courts acknowledge that this is a gray area, and don't want to touch it.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think boomn has given probably the best reply to this - I would also add that whilst asking on a forum is a good starting point and can give you some insight as well as concepts if you are going into business you really want to get legal advice from an experienced lawyer - in writing. That way you get official legal advice that you can rely and refrence rather than "well some guy on some forum said it was ok".

    I would also agree the area of art drawn from photos is going to be iffy at best - I think if you want to work like that you need to setup a policy of always inquiring to the photographer direct before taking on such a commission (remember even if a client of yours pays for a photographic print of their horse the copywrite for that print almost always still remains with the photographer who took the photo - so you still need to check with the photographer and this needs to be something that you clearly state when dealing with potential clients).

    My advice though is combine your photography and art together - take the photos yourself and then make them into drawn/painted artworks.
     
  4. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What about the moral dilema?
    Would you be afraid of emailing the people who created the work you are copying and telling them that you are reproducing derivitive works based on theirs and recieving monetary gain?

    How would you feel if somebody told you that? Honestly?

    Do you sell these under the guise of your own original creative doing?

    Could you sit down and draw these scenes based on your own knowledge, experiences, talent, ability, without looking at something and have them come out just as good?
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    What you are describing, making a drawing based on someone elses copyrighted image (photograph or other visual medium), is called a derivative work.

    Copyright law specifics vary by country, though 144 countries are signators of the Berne Convention, Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, including New Zealand.

    Here, the US Copyright office says:

    How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work?
    Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's consent. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration for Derivative Works.

    U.S. Copyright Office - Can I Use Someone Else's Work? Can Someone Else Use Mine? (FAQ)

    New Zealand may take a different stance on derivative works but the above would apply, by the terms of the Berne Convention, to any image you might use as the basis for a drawing that has an American copyright owner.

    As Overread suggested an online photography forum is not a good place to seek legal advice, you need to the advice of an attorney trained in the specialtys of Intellectual Property and Publishing laws.
     
  6. Eventer

    Eventer TPF Noob!

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    I think if somone drew my photo for example and didnt tell me and then sold it on, then yeah I wouldnt be too impressed. but If the they let know and they selling intentions prior, then I would think differently (and probably wouldnt mind - I imagine others would mind though)
    I actually cant just draw without somthing to copy, as I draw a grid over the photo then completly transfer it to paper etc. (I could change it a bit though - Like a facial marking on a horse for example) but everything else i just do a replica of the photo as ive never been in a position where i havent HAD to draw from nothing.
     
  7. DaevidClarke

    DaevidClarke TPF Noob!

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    ^^thats pretty common. most artists have reference material when working.
     
  8. Eventer

    Eventer TPF Noob!

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    Im thinking I will try draw from my own photos for a start, then get consent from a photographer (I have a good friend whos a photographer - So im thinking her at this stage)
    I really dont want to piss people off by getting into copyright infringement.
     
  9. DaevidClarke

    DaevidClarke TPF Noob!

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    coming from a fellow artist, i think taking your own photos would be best. you want your work to be as original as possible. even if you dont sell your work and just keep it in the giant portfolio, you still know where it came from. go out and make your own reference material. and who knows..maybe you will get some good shots and can sell your prints as well.
     
  10. Eventer

    Eventer TPF Noob!

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    Yeah thats what Im thinking ae, but then here comes my next issue...
    If i take a photo of a random horse and rider, does the person in the photo have any copyright over the photo? like drawing it then selling it... cause if someone took a photo of me on my horse, then drew it and sold it, i dont know if id be too stoked. :lol:
     
  11. DaevidClarke

    DaevidClarke TPF Noob!

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    are you drawing these horses exactly how they are in the photo? i thought maybe you were just looking reference...like muscle tone in the horse and leg position etc etc. i mean if your close enough to the person to be able to tell who it is, I would maybe ask their permission or something. im obviously no lawyer, but if your drawing just ends up looking like a dude on a horse, i say just be on your merry way.
     
  12. Eventer

    Eventer TPF Noob!

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