View Full Version : another (c) question
05-02-2002, 03:44 PM
I've just spent some time reading over many of the discussions on copyright laws. I assume it is ok for me to draw a copyrighted image for my own personal enjoyment. But if it is displayed to the public or if it is used for monetary gain, then there can be legal repurcussions. So what about here in this community? I have seen a lot of images of copyrighted figures floating around wetcanvas. In fact, Bobby recently suggested a summer movie art project, but now I'm wondering what the legal ramifications of that could be? Here's the link to Bobby's thread: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=41215
Also, there's a coffee shop in my town that I have wanted to draw from the street with the logo on the front window. What kind of approval should I seek? A signed letter from the owner, should that suffice?
05-02-2002, 06:18 PM
The question of copyright infringement seems to hinge on the idea of getting permission. Usually that isn't hard to do. In the case of the coffee shop, I sincerely doubt that the owner would be anything but thrilled at the idea, especially if you were to offer a print of the finished drawing. If the drawing is just for yourself and not for public display or sale, don't worry about it at all.
05-07-2002, 02:02 AM
I think people are putting more into this copyright discussion than there is. The fact that a photo is copyrighted does not mean you cannot use it as a reference in a painting, per se. It's more complex. For instance, if you took a photo of the Eiffel Tower and copyrighted it, you would only own the copyright on that particullar photo -- not on all subsequent images of the Eiffel Tower. Any other person could use your photo, and others, for reference to create a painting of the Eiffel Tower. You should not just copy the photo onto your canvas and then paint it, or make a print of the photo and sell it, that could be a copyright violation. The reason a say that it could be a copyright violation is that just because someone copyrights a work of art does not mean they actually have a copyright. For a work to be copyrightable, it has to be original. A work that is entirely deriviative or composed of only items that are in the public domain may not stand up in court. For example, lets say you painted an American Flag superimposed over a golden eagle. There are literally thousand's of images like that already. Your work would be 100% derivative and contain nothing but common images and icons in the public domain. In order to show that someone violated your copyright by copying your flag/eagle paintng, you would first have to show you own a copyright on it, and that it is not a derivative of another work of art. In my example, that would be a very, very difficult thing to prove.
As to painting a building, the general rule is that you can paint anything that you can see from a public place without the owner's permission. An exception is if your image contained another artist's copyrighted work as a major element -- e.g. not just a small part of your work -- that could be a copyright violation. A coffee shop logo is not a copyright. If it is anything, it is a trademark. Words and short phrases cannot be copyrighted, although the may be tradmarked.
05-07-2002, 03:53 PM
I'm glad you clarified...it's sometimes hard to explain to others...even the courts sometimes have trouble sorting it out.
05-09-2002, 08:28 AM
This is interesting. Does this mean one can paint a private house viewable from public space - say road / sidewalk? For purpose of sellable landscape / scene.
I always wondered since I paint scenes with houses a lot. To be safe I only took ideas like archetecture or landscaping etc..
I don't think I would want someone to paint MY house without asking - So I just make up scenes from skratch to be safe and fair. I always wondered about this question
Well gotta get kids to school chow for now!
05-11-2002, 07:04 PM
As I understand it yes, someone could paint your house without asking.
05-15-2002, 11:28 PM
Painting someone's house is fine....just be sure you're not "trespassing" on someone else's property while you're painting.
Painting from a public street of a shop front, etc. is done all the time...but if you are painting a building that derives its income from its storefront....better ask permission. Some businesses sell their own posters, post cards, etc. of their businesses....like Bed & Breakfasts, houses on the National Registry....and they don't want someone painting and selling those things!
05-16-2002, 08:33 AM
Thanks for the details. I ,myself am very respectful of others things and space. its nice to know where the lines are so as not to cross them.:)
05-31-2002, 11:16 PM
So if you want to paint a private residence, are you allowed to photograph it for reference purposes? I'm planning on painting a house in my neighborhood - but I was going to ask the owner for permission. Just in case she notices me standing on the street with a camera and wonders if I'm a kook.
06-03-2002, 03:03 PM
Some homeowners get paranoid because they might think you're planning a robbery or something! Yes, you are fully allowed to take your picture and paint it, but maybe a knock on the door would be nice. I recently went to a neighbor's and asked if I could shoot their garden from the street, and they not only said yes, they opened the gate and let me in to wander around...got some great shots that day.
07-05-2002, 08:43 AM
Thanks for the info. As you might know, there are fabulous old houses in Phila built by great old architects like Frank Furness that have really cool details on them.
I wouldn't feel comfy knocking on a stranger's door in the city to talk about painting their house, though...But then there are walking tours that stop and talk about the places so they are probably used to people taking pictures of them.
Thanks again. When it is less than 100 degrees outside I'll go take some pix to paint from.
Everyone takes photographs when on vacation etc. If someone else's property is visible on that photograph, then why should it be considered wrong to make copies of it or paint it. I think the whole thing is being blown out of proportion by the present day legal issues. Think about it :what would have happened to the art world if hundreds of years ago, everyone was afraid of "infringement". I am sure we would not had so many of the masterpieces. :D
01-14-2003, 12:51 AM
We need to remember that copyright protects forms of expression.
I own my house - I don't own the copyright in my house. The architect who designed it doesn't own copyright in my house. The architect would own the copyright in the plans to my house which s/he drew up himself/herself.
If I did a painting of my house, I own the copyright to that painting. If you saw my painting and copied it, you are in breach. If you saw my house, but not my painting, and did a painting of my house, you have created an original work and have not breached.
Cheers, Victor :cool:
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