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Old 01-14-2020, 11:11 PM
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AndyRichardson AndyRichardson is offline
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Lightbulb Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Grandson asked me to paint something like Thomas Cole. It was just for some school thing, just to show to the teacher. I don't expect it to end up on social media, but teens do what teens do...so I wonder.
So, for everyone else's sake, what would be a practical copyright safe way of inspiring a youngster to get this art history experience? Obviously, not painting a copy is the answer, but the personal example aspect would be lost. Or, not letting the painting out of my sight, or photographed by any cell phones, but then the student/teacher teachable moment aspect would be lost.
Seal it in a plastic bag with a big marker pen notice on the bag like, "do not photograph"?
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:38 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Please disregard my Thomas Cole copying post. Since it's been more than 70 years since Cole died, I don't think I need worry about copyright issues.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:40 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

You're allowed to copy a painting.
It's a common practice.
In art school, we were REQUIRED to copy paintings.
Just don't sign it "Thomas Cole".
Then it could be considered a forgery, if anyone noticed or cared.
If you HAD signed it "Thomas Cole" for the amusement of your young relative, the fact that you had not tried to sell it, or receive any type of gain, would count in your favour, so I wouldn't sweat it too much


:::
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:42 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyRichardson
Since it's been more than 70 years since Cole died, I don't think I need worry about copyright issues.
Just to be clear, if you did a Rembrandt copy, and signed it "Rembrandt", its still art forgery, no matter how long he's been dead


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Old 01-17-2020, 11:34 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Sounds as though you made the right impression, regardless of the copyright issue you raised.
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Old 01-26-2020, 01:03 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Well, it turned out well and my grandson wanted to keep it. He's very quiet and it's hard to get a conversation going. I'll wait 'til it is brought up on his terms. But it was an interesting exercise for me, cranking out a copy in 3 days, done with watercolors (gouache) instead of oils. I thought it would be safer for drying time. I didn't take into account the drying time of the protective spray, while we were having cold torrential rain! My studio isn't heated, but I had to let it out-gas there. It would have been too toxic in the house.
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:46 PM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Your grandson will never forget your generous act. About signing...on the back of the painting you can put "after Thomas Cole" as a reference to the original artist. You are right no problem with copyright of his work.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:29 PM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyRichardson
I didn't take into account the drying time of the protective spray, while we were having cold torrential rain! My studio isn't heated, but I had to let it out-gas there. It would have been too toxic in the house.
I live in Seattle and use Gamvar for varnish - a liquid with no noticeable odor -but in this weather, it can take a week to dry.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:49 PM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffro Jones
You're allowed to copy a painting.
It's a common practice.
In art school, we were REQUIRED to copy paintings.
Just don't sign it "Thomas Cole".
Then it could be considered a forgery, if anyone noticed or cared.
If you HAD signed it "Thomas Cole" for the amusement of your young relative, the fact that you had not tried to sell it, or receive any type of gain, would count in your favour, so I wouldn't sweat it too much :::

Not sure what you meant, but your post could mislead some people about "copies." Forgive me if I misunderstood!

You're allowed to copy paintings that are not under someone's copyright. Most old masters paintings are in the public domain, (copyright didn't exist back then or has expired due to the artist being dead long enough). Some modern masters like Picasso are not in the public domain yet.

To limited extent, there are exceptions to copyright law for accredited educational uses like actual classes. Workshops and painting parties that are usually commercial enterprises are not accredited schools. Copying to learn, privately or in an actual school class, is generally accepted as ok but the minute the student makes it public or starts selling them, they could be risking being accused of infringement IF the artist is still copyright protected.

I agree, don't sign it with the real artist's name, in most cases. I can see where as a joke, just between you and the recipient, especially if you misspell it on purpose etc, but normally, no, just don't. Write on the back who painted it and that it's a copy of whatever, if you want to make sure the pertinent info is on it somewhere. Or just leave it a mystery for future people to figure out.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:48 AM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

As long as you are not SELLING the painting, you can copy anything you want, regardless if the artist is living or not or if it's in the public domain or not. You can sign it any way you want as well. Doesn't matter as long as you are keeping it or simply giving it away.

But...

Basically SELLING the painting for profit is where laws step in. While it may not be ethical to do such as the above, it's perfectly legal. However, selling copy paintings as originals or selling them with forged signatures will get you in trouble. As well, it's doubtful that any knowledgeable art professionals would be fooled. But the public is quite gullible and that's where most sold forgeries happen and are punishable by law.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:01 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

In the US at least copyright law has *nothing* to do with whether you are sell ing or not. Making a copy or a derivative work based on a copyright work without permission is a violation of copyright law, with certain narrow exceptions.
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 and Compilations." From US Copyright Office FAQ

https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/f...tml#permission

There are so many myths and misinformations about copyright floating around the web. Two of the most popular of these are that as long as you are not selling it there is no violation of copyright, and that as long as you change X% of the work it is not a copyright violation.

For the US the Copyright Office is a gold mine of information about the copyright laws straight from the source.

To repeat Selling the work is irrelevant to whether or not it is violation of copyright.

Thomas Cole's paintings are old enough to be in the public domain so you can copy them freely.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:07 PM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Sorry, Dave, I disagree, but you are right on the technicality of the law (which is written that way to discourage copies).

I worked with a copyright lawyer for a while. I handled all of their graphics for their website and their stationary and we used to have a lot of discussions about this issue. He said that "technically, it's a violation, but in court the owner of the copyrights usually has to prove some sort of damage which would equate to a financial loss of some type." This is where the law steps in and where most lawsuits originate because, well, money!

They could say their reputation has suffered or they lost clients' confidence in the marketplace, etc. Fine, but they'd have to prove a financial loss due to the above. Very difficult to do so. How does one gauge a thing like that?

Selling/marketing (in a big way) the copyrighted works without being the owner of said copyrights (especially if it's large numbers, repros, big money) is the cause of most lawsuits surrounding copyright issues. Otherwise you'd see lawsuits happening more frequently for violations which happen daily, (especially with comic/anime characters and copies of famous photos) by artists. It's up to the originator to sue and many just don't because of the lack of any financial damage that can be proven. It's simply not worth their time. Lawsuits take time and money.

Also, if you read what you wrote: "you cannot claim copyright to another's work". In most cases, nobody is actually claiming the copyright, they're simply copying the works and keeping them or giving them away.

Many cases of copying famous works simply aren't seen. They aren't advertised or shown online, they're happening in a vacuum (or a classroom). That's why I don't necessarily see it as a huge concern for folks like the OP. Yes, technically, you could say it's a violation, but practically speaking, it's not something most would worry about.

I'm sure you'll see this differently and that's OK. :-)
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:39 PM
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

what Keith said
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:31 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

I have been on the "We can't afford the lawyer's fees to bring our case to court" end of a copyright violation where a publisher stole and published the work of many artists and writers. We had a clear case and probably would have won if we had taken it to court, but we did not have the cash up front to even begin to bring legal action.

So, yes, in practice, almost any copyright violation is safe.

Just look on Etsy...
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:02 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Can I copy a Thomas Cole painting?

Something I have not seen mentioned in these discussions is the line added to the signature of a copied piece that says, "After Rembrandt (or whomever)" followed by your signature. As I understand it, adding this attribution is both a courtesy and a legal thing that explains clearly that you copied the work and you're giving the original artist his credit while admitting openly that it's a copy. Can someone more knowledgeable then me speak about this? Thanks.
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