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Old 09-29-2016, 11:33 AM
3igAnt 3igAnt is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 125
About Copyright


Most of the time I see beautiful photos from famous photographers. They are constantly in abundant access to models and they can photograph them how they like to. And I ofcourse like alot of work like that.

My question is, as an amateur painter, if I use a beautiful portrait photo which was taken by a famous photographer of a prestigious magazine and paint it in oils in my way and sell it, is that a violation of the copyright or it is not?

Any experts about this in the forum?

All the best.
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:48 PM
3igAnt 3igAnt is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 125
Re: About Copyright

And something that came into my mind is, for example I did a model painting refering a photo that I found on the net. But the face of the figure in my drawing is not %100 looking like the face of the figure in the orginal photo and I also added some tattoos to the model's body and altered the colors. So who can insist on that I did the drawing based on the photo? Maybe I did it from my mind and suddenly it was the same pose in the photo and the date of my painting is unknown. How they prove that it is a copyright violation? I just dont know these things and want to learn the details.
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Old 09-30-2016, 01:36 PM
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Charlie's Mum Charlie's Mum is offline
North East England.
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Posts: 52,600
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Re: About Copyright

Copyright law varies in different countries but basically what you ask in your first question would be a breach of copyright.

I know people use magazine photos all the time, but it's still a breach if you want to sell, exhibit or publish the work.
If you ask the photographer's permission to use the work, and say for what purpose, it may well be given - but you need to ask!

You may use the photo for 'fair use' and educational purposes - in other words, for practice drawing or painting the pose ... but not for selling afterwards!

As to your second question - there are many 'free figure poses' around - or drawing cds/videos where you might find the pose you need - then you are free to do what you wish!

It's often said that if you copy, but change say 60% of the objects/elements in a painting, is that OK? .... personally, I'd say 'No!
I wouldn't a) like my work taken and changed in that way and
b) wouldn't want to steal another's work in that way.

So now it's your choice!

Forgot to add - if you do use something for practice and post it here, don't forget to credit the photographer - preferably by name too, not just e.g.'Thanks to the RIL'!
Cheers, Maureen

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Last edited by Charlie's Mum : 09-30-2016 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:44 PM
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~JMW~ ~JMW~ is online now
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Re: About Copyright

Some also use multiple photos and take parts from each to make a new painting. So it is not recognizable as one persons copyrighted photo.
That idea probably works best for landscapes/seascapes/florals more than portraits.
There are quite a few "free to use photos" & "copyright free images" websites , just do a web search for those words .
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:19 PM
picknick11 picknick11 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 4
Re: About Copyright

Interesting questions. A guy takes take a photo of a train - which itself has been designed by someone else - their copyright - but the photo is the guy's copyright, yet his photo is indistinguishable from the photo taken by the guy standing behind him. I paint a painting of the same train, but who's to say which photo I used, or whether I painted it from life. At the end of the day the chances of such disputes ending up in court is zilch. I used TWENTY photos of trains in one of my books and the photographer was happy that I gave him £50. He said he'd have been more than happy to give them free. The lesson from all this is a bit of give and take, some consideration - and a healthy dose of commonsense.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:31 AM
Beginnerjesjr Beginnerjesjr is offline
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Posts: 10
Re: About Copyright

Thanks for sharing this, I tend to not paint for photo realism but rather use photos as a jumping off point and generally while my paintings my resemble the photo they are not an attempt to recreate it... I wonder if that is enough to protect from copyright infringement. I sometime will also put on the back of the painting an attribution "painting inspiration from picture by John Doe" Hopefully that helps too.
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:11 PM
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PamSav PamSav is offline
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Liverpool, England
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Re: About Copyright

Just chipping in with my own view here: If you like a photo enough to want to use any of it in your artwork why not just take the simple step of asking the photographer if you can use it. I have done this in the past lots of times when I was doing my digital artwork. Usually the person who owns the photograph is delighted that someone has asked to use it and will allow free use or ask for a reasonable fee if you intend to use it commercially. Most people just want to be credited as the original photographer and to see what you created with their photograph.

Copyright infringement is a form of theft. If you didn't take the photograph ASK the person who did.
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Last edited by PamSav : 05-03-2017 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:01 AM
Ellen E Ellen E is online now
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Posts: 38
Re: About Copyright

I'm not good enough to paint anything and have it recognizable probably. LOL

But seriously, I use photos for reference, only I just take several varying images of whatever I'm painting. Then I use those to compose something totally my own. For instance, I painted a barn owl sitting under the "super blue moon" and I used various images from online, then made my own composition and I used the reference photos just to see what a barn owl looks like in various positions. Some of the photos showed the face more clearly and others showed the stance they assume better, etc. I used an image of the moon to get the shadows on the moon right and then I made the moon look like the eclipse sort of an orange-y color. It turned out well and I think that's acceptable.
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