Copyright Aid Forum Index
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in   Main siteC A Main Site 

Paintings and copyright laws

 
   Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
littlemonster
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:13 pm    Post subject: Paintings and copyright laws Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm hoping somebody can help me, although I have looked through many topics on this forum, I am still a little confused.

I have made hand painted canvas' as gifts for friends but have recently spoken to a local shop owner who is hoping to use her shop for the benefit of local artists and musicians etc and would like me to sell some paintings in her shop.

However my paintings are generally of celebrities and wonder where I stand on painting the following things and then selling them:
- film scene stills
- tv characters etc
- celebrities in general
- album covers

all of which I find pictures of, which I would like to then paint. there seems to be a grey area and conflicting answers on this subject, from what I gather, I would need to seek permission from the copyright owner?
However the conflicting answer to that is that the paintings are mine and therefore not infringing copyright. and that only if the paintings were seen to be defamatory could any action be taken?

Also If i were to find a picture of, say, John Lennon, that I wanted to paint, how would I find out who was the copyright owner?

Please could someone clear this up for me??
Thank you so much in advance Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1529

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Littlemonster,
This issue has been in the news (well in the IP world anyway!) recently as a couple of successful artists have lost court cases over copying from photographs. You can find details here and here.
It all depends on the extent of the copying. If you use a photograph as a reference but produce a painting which is not a slavish copy, then it is less likely that your work will infringe the copyright of the original photographer. If you use several different photographs as your inspiration you will dilute the chances infringing any one photoragher's copyright even further.
Permission is the alternative method, and if it was granted, then you could make a close copy without running any risk. One of the biggest hurdles is finding out who is the copyright owner, and even if you have a name, it's not always easy to trace the person. But you must try to do this if you want to get permission. By the way in the case of John Lennon, it's the photographer whose work you use, not the person portrayed, from whom you need permission. If the photographer is dead, you will need to contact whoever has inherited his/her estate.
Where stills from films or TV programmes are concerned the copyright is normally jointly owned by the director and the producer, or the TV company, so they are much easier to track down. The artwork and/or photograph on an album cover may well have been commissioned by the record company and so they will own the rights. In any case it is best to contact them first and they will be able to refer you to the copyright owner if they don't hold it.
Whether you own copyright in the painting you make will largely depend on which of the two approachs you adopt. If you have permission to copy, then yours will be a derivative work, which will in all likelihood have sufficient additional creative work in it to qualify for copyright. However if you merely use a photograph as a reference, and produce a wholly diffferent image, assuming that a court agrees that there is no copying, you will have copyright in your work as a wholly original image.
Finally, you mentioned 'defamatory' treatment. The law actually calls this derogatory treatment. And it is quite difficult for a copyright owner to prove this. Firstly, he has to prove that your work is a copy of his. Obviously if he had given permission then your image may well be a 'legal' copy. But if you have merely used his image as a reference source, then he would need to establish that the average person seeing your work is likely to think that it is his work. Secondly your work needs to damage his professional reputation in a serious way. This is quite different to the normal law of defamation.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
littlemonster
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyJ,

Thank you for your prompt and detailed response.
Forgive me for asking this, and apologies if it is a silly question Embarassed but, i wonder if this is actually something that is a strict requirement or is it a law that generally doesn't cause any concern?
I'm just wondering because you see images of celebrities (on prints, t-shirts, clocks, coasters, ashtrays etc) in alot of stores and wonder whether permission / copyright licence has been obtained for all of these.
Do artists / companies / photographers generally object to an artist wanting to paint an image of a well known celebrity?
It does seem like alot of work for an artist to just sell some paintings in a local shop.

Thank you once again for your help, it is very much appreciated.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1529

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi LM,
Yes what I have described is the strict letter of the law, and I'm sure that you are right in supposing that in many cases the artist has not sought permission and has got away with what is technically infringement. That of course is a judgement they may or may not make based on their knowledge of the law. Many people today are ignorant about what is a complicated set of laws, and just assume that music, films, images that they find on the internet or elsewhere can be freely copied. Most will get away with it. But that doesn't change the legal position, any more than not getting caught speeding or drink-driving makes that OK.
I'm also sure that many non-professional photographers would be delighted to have their work featured in a painting, but most of the sources you mentioned in the opening post involve professionals who earn their living from producing these source images, and so will want to extract their fair share from anyone else who seeks to exploit their work.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
littlemonster
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again,

I'm not sure i'll be pursuing my option to showcase my talent if all this is anything to go by. It is very confusing and something I totally wasn't aware of until I decided to check before selling my art in a shop, I almost wish I hadn't bothered to find out and remained blissfully unaware! Although I may see what reaction I get if I try and get permission from a couple of people first and see where that takes me.

Once again, many thanks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fredderf
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I have had similar questions to the above - and further to this I have heard that if I photograph a famous person and then produce a painting based on that photo, I then cannot sell the painting because of the 'Right of Publicity' that protects the celebrity's likeness!

Is this true?

Thanks
Fred
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1529

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Fred,
You don't say where you are based, but if it is the USA then, yes, the Publicity Right aspect is something you need to consider. This is state law and the details vary from state to state; indeed just under half of the 50 states do not have a Right of Publicity statute. Most of these laws apply to all citizens, whether or not they have any celebrity status. The California Celebrities Rights Act is a somewhat specialised version, which for obvious reasons, concentrates on celebrities.
Some other countries, notably France, also have laws about the commercial exploitation of an individual's likeness, but generally these are much more confined to pictures taken in circumstances where a reasonable degree of privacy might be expected, so a picture taken of a celeb on the red carpet at a film premiere would not be a problem.
If you are based in the UK, then the law on the right of publicity is virtually non-existent. The main protection is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is supposed to provide an individual with the right to a private and family life. So unless the circumstances in which the picture was taken are very definitely seen as private, then generally the celebrity concerned will have no remedy. Of course, this particular aspect is in the news at the moment because of the Prince Harry pictures, although I assume you were not intending to use him as your subject.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fredderf
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in the UK. Thanks for your very comprehensive answer.
So if I have a photo of an American actor and sell a painting of the photo in the UK is it only the UK law that applies?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1529

PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Fred,
Yes, by making and publishing your work here in the UK, UK law applies. Just make sure that the photograph you use as the basis of your painting is either one you took yourself, or if it was taken by someone else, you have their permission. Alternatively you could do what I advised Littlemonster further up this thread, which was to use several different photographs to study the celeb's features, so that no single original becomes your source.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fredderf
New Member
New  Member


Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent thanks.

Two further questions!
If I want to use a photo of say Marilyn Monroe as a source for a painting this would be difficult or expensive. But I have seen some stock photo websites selling licenses for photos of stamps with her image on them (both in the UK and US). Now ignoring the logistical difficulties of scale would it be legal for me to buy the license and then sell works of MM's image derived from these photos - this does not seem likely and I am assuming there is a catch somewhere? If I am able to do this could I just get a copy of the stamp and go from there?

And the second question:
I have recently produced a painting from my own photo of a local building that is covered in grafitti produced by one grafitti 'crew'. I was told in a local print shop that it would be good for me to ask permission of the 'crew' before reproducing the image. I took this as a thing of courteousness - 'honour amoung grafitti artists'. But I wonder if there is a legal position here? I guess there are two issues - one of reproducing publicly available art and two, does Grafitti fall into this category?

Thanks - in anticiopation.

Fred
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 1529

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Fred,
You would need to check the wording of the licence but I suspect it probably wouldn't include making a derivative work, ie your painting. That is a right which many authors/artists do not licence to intermediaries to market on their behalf as they may wish to personally approve the proposed changes which will result from the change of medium, to ensure their original work is not treated in a derogatory way.
Your second question opens an entirely different argument*! In the US there have been several court cases which recognise grafitti as artistic works for the purposes of copyright, whilst others have found that because such works are usually technically criminal damage they cannot attract copyright. The second consideration is the position of the grafitti artists themselves, who by the nature of their activities are unlikely to come forward and identify themselves by bringing a copyright infringement claim. Getting their informal permission seems like a good idea, both morally and pragmatically, if you can find the actual artists.

* If you are seriously interested in the subject and have some time to spare, read this academic article on the subject (it's 42 pages long), or you can read an abstract here if you prefer.
_________________
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Copyright Aid Forum Index -> Copyright Law All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1
 

You must be logged in to post  Log inLog in
Want to join in? New members are always welcome  RegisterRegister & join the discussion

 

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group