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CanvasSky
03-28-2013, 05:25 PM
This might be a silly question...but I'm pretty new to this!

Most of my output has been landscapes, and my few aviation-related pieces so far have been imagined scenes of aircraft that don't actually exist. Recognizable models, mind you, like a Pitts Special or a Cessna 195, but the individual plane is fictitious.

However, I'm thinking of doing (and hopefully selling) some paintings of individual aircraft that really do exist, belong to real people or organizations, and are fairly recognizable. Do I need permission for this?

(I haven't seen many paintings of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, and I wonder if this may be why...)

Chas McHugh
03-28-2013, 05:50 PM
The only thing to worry about is when an airframe is supporting advertising rights, as the advertising agencies get very grumpy when someone borrows their property. This is why the motoring art world is not overwhelmed with contemporary motorsport paintings. Therefore if you were to paint an air racing scene inclusive of sponsorship signage, you will get people on your case that are unlikely to be the owner.

Lockheed have tried to have their airframe images copyrighted, but I understand a legal case against model manafacturers came to nothing.

If you depicted an aeroplane that was inclusive of a logo, for example a P&W engine or Rolls Royce logo, you are more likely to get earache about that then the aircraft owner.

The owners are often traceable. In the UK we have the G INFO website that lists owners and I am sure the FAA have similar in the US, so the owners consent can be asked in advance, and if refused, go for the same shape in an alternative colour scheme.

In summary, I would avoid sponsorship decals but otherwise paint what you will.

Shamrock15
03-28-2013, 07:21 PM
There are actually plenty of pics of the Snowbirds - google Don Connolly, Geoff Bennett, etc, and I think you will find plenty. I think in Canada at least, if you are doing one offs like this and not trying to sell them as "authorized" pieces, you are ok.

falcon012
03-29-2013, 01:20 AM
The aircraft are not copyrighted but sometimes their names are trademarked. Lockheed actualy has trademarked all their products when sold as toys, models, t-shirts, etc. For artists creating a depiction of military aircraft there is no problem in the USA. They are considered public domain. You cannot, however, use the manufacturers name in the title. For commercial aircraft you may have to be careful about the airline names. I've not heard of an artist being persecuted for making a depiction of an airliner but I am sure the names are all trademarked. For smaller, private aircraft I don't think there is an issue except if it decorated in trademarked product labels. Even then I don't think you would be bothered too much for making such a depiction.

CanvasSky
03-29-2013, 10:10 AM
There are actually plenty of pics of the Snowbirds - google Don Connolly, Geoff Bennett, etc, and I think you will find plenty. I think in Canada at least, if you are doing one offs like this and not trying to sell them as "authorized" pieces, you are ok.

I found a few more a few minutes after I posted. Google Images just doesn't turn up very many at a time--I found about 1 for every 2 sets of keywords I tried. It's inundated with photos, of course. (CF/DND photos are not in the public domain like US military photos are.)

(Geoff Bennett doesn't seem to have a website, however.)

One offs...it does seem like those artists who have painted the Snowbirds have only done so once (except for Rich Thistle, who was commissioned by the team to do two paintings).