USA copyright information & using other people's photos to paint by

Hi, I have been thinking a lot about copyrights lately.  I finally got around to doing some research.  I thought it was good enough to pass on.

My article explains copyright information for the USA, but if you live in other coutries, you might be inspired to check your rights out.

There is indebth information about using another person's photo, a photo off of the web, or out of a book.  The change just a bit  to use it is not correct.

All good information.  I would love to hear if you know more.

Thanks,

Roena

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Hi Ro

 

Unfortunately I am not able to open this in the format it is in.  Is it posted anywhere so I can read it online?

 

thanks and hope all is well in your world.

HI Ro, I cannot open this either.  Would be interested in reading it.  Anne

Hi Ro, Is this your info. I converted it to text, Terry

Copyright information for artist in the USA

To the best of my knowledge this is true and correct information gathered from
internet sources February 18, 2011. Roena King

#1. http://painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq2.htm

Question: How Do I Copyright a Painting? Can I Copyright an Idea I've Had?

Answer: As soon as you've created something in a tangible form, you have copyright on it.
If it's still an idea, you can't copyright it, but as soon as you've painted it, you have copyright on it
but, importantly, it's the way you've executed the idea that's copyrightable, not the idea itself. You
don't need to register copyright for it to exist. If you've created something for an employer or
as work for hire, copyright belongs to them. (Though in the US to sue for copyright infringement,
registration makes it less tricky.)

A good way to make the ownership of copyright clear to anyone who buys a painting from
you is to do what artist Karen McConnell does: "I sell most all of my original paintings with
a 'Statement of Value' which includes (1) date of sale (2) price paid (3) whether it was
purchased framed or unframed and (4) notice that copyright for the work remains with the
artist. At the bottom of the form is a place for dated signatures from both myself and the
purchaser. I keep a copy, they keep a copy."

Disclaimer: The information given here is based on US copyright law and is given for guidance only;
you're advised to consult a copyright lawyer on copyright issues.

#2. http://painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq3.htm

Question: Artist's Copyright FAQ: Is a Copyright Symbol Essential?

Answer: No, though it does make it very clear for people unfamiliar with copyright law. To prevent
the defense of "innocent infringement", use the copyright symbol, date of creation, your name,
and if you want, the words "all rights reserved". You don't have to be registered with the
US Copyright Office to use the copyright notice.

Disclaimer: The information given here is based on US copyright law and is given for guidance only;
you're advised to consult a copyright lawyer on copyright issues.

#3. I found companies that you can hire to fill out the paper work for a
copyright for a fee of around $75. I found the copyright office where you
could fill out your own form and register it yourself, but when I found the
pricing for doing that I decided that was too much for me. I never actually
found for sure prices for a work of art, but sounded pricey!

#4. http://painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq6.htm

Question: Artist's Copyright FAQ: If I Change 10 Percent, Isn't It a New Image?

Answer: The belief that changing 10 percent of an image means you've created a new one is a myth

(as is changing 20 percent or 30 percent). The fair use guideline is that you can use 10 percent of
something.

It's certainly not a legal test, but as a rule of thumb consider whether, if your painting were put next
to the painting or photo you're copying, would someone say you'd based it on the original? If so,
you're risking copyright infringement. Don't fool yourself with this 10 percent change myth.

#5. http://painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq5.htm

Question: Artist's Copyright FAQ: Can I Make a Painting of a Photograph?

"I've found a lovely photo on the Internet and want to make a painting of it. Can I do this?" -- A.G.

Answer:

A painting made from a photograph is known as a derivative work. But that doesn't mean you can
simply make a painting from any photo you find -- you need to check the copyright situation of the
photo. Don't assume because the likes of Warhol used contemporary photos that it means it's okay if
you do.

The creator of the photograph, i.e. the photographer, usually holds the copyright to the photo and,
unless they've expressly given permission for its use, making a painting based on a photo would
infringe the photographer's copyright. In terms of US copyright law: "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."1
You may be able to obtain permission to use a photo for a derivative work from the photographer, or
if you're using a photo library buy the right to use it.

You might argue that the photographer is unlikely ever to find out if you use it, but are you going to
keep a record of such paintings to ensure you never put it on display or offer it for sale? Even if you're
not going to make commercial use of a photo, just by creating a painting to hang in your home, you're
still technically infringing copyright, and you need to be aware of the fact. (Ignorance is not bliss.)

The easiest solution to avoiding copyright issues when painting from photos is to take your own
photos, or use the Artist's Reference Photos on this website, photos from somewhere such as Morgue
File, which provides "free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits", or to use several
photos for inspiration and reference for your own scene, not copy them directly. Another good source
of photos are those labeled with a Creative Commons Derivatives License in Flickr.

Photos being labeled "royalty-free" in photo libraries does not mean "copyright free". Royalty free
means that you can buy the right from the copyright holder to use the photo wherever you want,
whenever you want, how many times you want, rather than purchasing the right to use it once for a
specific project and then paying an additional fee if you used it for something else.

As for the argument that it's fine to make a painting from a photo provided it doesn't say "do not
duplicate" or because 10 different artists would produce 10 different paintings from the same photo,
it's a misconception that photos aren’t subject to the same stringent copyright rules as paintings. It
seems that all too often artists who would scream if someone copied their paintings, don’t hesitate to
make a painting of someone else’s photo, with no thought to the creator’s rights. You wouldn't say "as
long as a painting doesn't say 'do not duplicate' that anyone can photograph it and declare it their
original creation".

The absence of a copyright notice on a photo doesn’t mean copyright doesn't apply. And if a copyright
statement says ©2005, this doesn’t mean that copyright expired at the end of 2005; it generally

expires several decades after the creator’s death.

I must figure out things in my sleep because as soon as I work up this
morning I had a plan. I have only started to sell my work. Sold one
yesterday, but have not delivered it yet so there is still time to do this.

1. I will put the copyright symbol (the circle with a “c” in it) on my
paintings by my signature.
2. I will take a good photo of the painting
3. I will take a photo of me standing beside my painting
4. I will put on the back of the painting my full name, my artist R. King
signature, the date, the name of the painting
5. I will take a photo of me standing beside the back of the painting
6. I will take a photo of the close up words on the back of the painting
7. I will put all these photos not only on my computer but on a DVD for
a backup
8. I think a journal of this on a piece of paper might be a good idea too
9. I will name all the photos with the date first and then the name of
the painting so that they stay in date order

I think what

this artist Karen McConnell does is good too: "I sell most all of my original
paintings with a 'Statement of Value' which includes (1) date of sale (2) price paid (3)
whether it was purchased framed or unframed and (4) notice that copyright for the work
remains with the artist. At the bottom of the form is a place for dated signatures from both
myself and the purchaser. I keep a copy, they keep a copy."

So all that needs to be done to protect your rights is take some photos,
write some words, and put it on a DVD for a record. I can handle this.

Next of course is to become famous! LOL

Roena

PS If you have any information to share would love to hear it.

Interesting that this discussion was held recently on a forum on FB.  One person said that no one owns nature so you can paint from anyones painting you like.  My post - and it was very polite - disagreed with that one and others followed also disagreeing.  Well it turned into full scale war!!  With this woman screaming at us all - but more specifically at me and she made that plain..and yes you can scream online and it was so horrible.  In the end the lady in control of the forum closed the post and banned the woman from further discussions on any of the forums connected to the Artists Tips and Tricks.  Very kindly I received a number of supportive emails.  If you are also on FB 'Artists Tips and Tricks' is a really good and helpful forum.

By the way I totally agree with all the statements above about what you can and cannot do. Also for me its a matter of moral and personal pride.  If we take our own photos, we personally, not some unknown photographer we stole from,  have set up the perspective, the composition etc and have been to the place and have a 'feeling' for it which hopefully we can transfer to our work and take the viewer with us on a magical journey - how awesome is that!  Couldnt be better.

Happy painting everyone.

Lorna said........By the way I totally agree with all the statements above about what you can and cannot do. Also for me its a matter of moral and personal pride. If we take our own photos, we personally, not some unknown photographer we stole from, have set up the perspective, the composition etc and have been to the place and have a 'feeling' for it which hopefully we can transfer to our work and take the viewer with us on a magical journey - how awesome is that! Couldnt be better.

Yes, Lorna.  yes, yes.............NATURE IS FOR EVERYONE who was there, saw it, took the photo, Other than that......YOU TAKE THE PHOTO and use it!!!! That is why we have copy right laws ............You did not do it.........you dont get the credit.  hum......Ro

I go out, I try, moment by moment.....the photo shots are there..........whoooooooooo IF YOU ARE THERE. 

How could you use my MOMENT without premission?  Of course.............they dont think about that,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

I am so willing to share my limited knowledge......who am I? no one.  If I coule help someone........so happy I would be.  Achieve beyond your YOUR dreams................way to go  !

Meet   me in COURT WITH MY LAWYER.........I WIN!

Ro, great reply - except for "who am I?  No one"  You are you...you are Ro a very sharing person.  I know what you meant though but just trying to say 'value yourself"  We each have something to give and you are a giver.  (O:

Recently when walking through a mall with my daughter a woman walked purposefully toward me, though without eye contact.  It was so obvious she was heading for me that my daughter moved aside looking perplexed.  I suppose I did too...look perplexed.  As she got close she held out her hand as though to shake hands then made eye contact and said 'Oh I thought you were someone!'  I replied "I am someone!!"  Of course she meant to say someone she knew but strangely she dropped her eye contact immediately and almost without changing her stride was gone. 

My daughter was laughing afterward saying "that was a quick comeback Mum!!  Good on you!"

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB

I have somemore information to share.  I have spent a great amount of time serching the internet for photos of American Indians or cowboys that would inspire me to use to paint from.  I found 5 really nice very old b&w photos on the firstpeople.us site. This is one of the photos I liked -- http://www.firstpeople.us/american-indian/people/story-of-the-washi... .  I wrote a e-mail to the site and ask for permission to use the images.  Paul from the firstpeople site said that my images were Public Domain, and that I would have to find out if I could use them myself.  I start doing some research on Public Domain, and thought I was in the clear to use them.  Today I get another e-mail from Paul with this link (the one above).  I am under the impression that it is ok to use a Public Domain photo to paint for your own pleasure, but not if you intend to sell them -- unless you are able to "check it out" and find out about the legal things attatched to the photo - like a license.  And that brings up another thought, what if you search and dont find anything because you did not know how to find it .......and......there really was something.  Gezzzz  I guess so as not to have to worry about anything, take your own photos, set up your own still lifes, or go paint plein air!  Ro

Ro, it would be so great to be able to paint some of those things, from those photos but the risk is great.  I often wonder how/ where the current day artists who do paint those kind of things and native people from years past such as Indians, and here in NZ Maori from time gone by, not in our life time...where do they get the images from? 

Maybe you could research some artists perhaps on FB who do that kind of work and ask?  Most are lovely people.  It could be from their old family photos but who would know...they could be copying too.  Some of the wonderful magazines in your country... is it Southwest Art perhaps?  Also have a lot of this kind of artists work in them. Maybe worth a try.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1013...

My brother in Colorado has a friend named Mark Rohrig.  He is so famous that he has paintings and articles about him in Soughwest Art.  Seems like I remember he sells his originals for $60,000 in galleries.  According to my brother, Mark just draws stuff.  He has been doing this for a zillion years though.  He said he had some book with Indian stuff in them, but mostly he just makes up stuff.  If you will notice his people pretty much look alike.  Same nose, same mouth.  I think he just figured out for himself how to paint a person and paints the same one over and over. 

Mark is a really nice guy and I have even spoken to him on the phone.  My brother is so proud of me, he keeps showing Mark my paintings.  Mark even put in a call to one gallery on my behalf, but they are not accepting new artist at the moment.  So, he recommended to me to try to find a gallery near where I live.  That is a problem, because we travel all the time.  LOL

My plan at the moment is to continue working in the Flemish Renaissance technique until I have a bunch of paintings.  I have heard you need 20-30 before you approach a gallery.  Let's see.  It took me a month to do the pots!  LOL  Hopefully I will get faster.  That was my first one and quite complicated.  My 8x8 inch magnola only took 7 days of painting.  There were those other days required for drying.  You really need to be working on more than one painting at a time to keep you away from them while they dry.

 

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