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Old 04-16-2017, 11:59 AM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Is everything legally off-limits?

I paint for pleasure not profit. I take fotos at local car shows and do paintings of classic vehicles, mostly chrome reflections. I show my ptgs there and in local art shows, always with NFS prices. An orange/yellow ’37 Terraplane caught my eye. I photographed it, painted it and displayed it at the next show. The owner told me that I did not have permission to paint his car because he had copyrighted it. A few months ago, he and his lawyer came to my house with a court order and confiscated the painting. Now I wonder if every image I paint is a violation of some law.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:47 PM
zardoz71 zardoz71 is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_hobbyist
I paint for pleasure not profit. I take fotos at local car shows and do paintings of classic vehicles, mostly chrome reflections. I show my ptgs there and in local art shows, always with NFS prices. An orange/yellow ’37 Terraplane caught my eye. I photographed it, painted it and displayed it at the next show. The owner told me that I did not have permission to paint his car because he had copyrighted it. A few months ago, he and his lawyer came to my house with a court order and confiscated the painting. Now I wonder if every image I paint is a violation of some law.

Well, seems one of the more complicated cases. I highligh suggest that you ask a lawyer that knows art/copyright/trademark law.


I need to go back few years and as I wrote in the other thread every country has it's own country laws.
Remember the Eiffel Tower at night copyright infringement: http://artlawjournal.com/night-photo...ate-copyright/

Or in Germany the violate of copyright in case of "Prussian gardens and park": https://www.jipitec.eu/issues/jipite...-%20dreier.pdf

In both cases the objects are hundred of years old but yet under certain circumstances you can break the law if you take some pictures from them.


Now back to your case, serching the US GOV (https://www.copyright.gov/) databank about a 37 Terraplane yieded this information

Quote:
Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Number / Date: VA0001221105 / 2003-05-21
Application Title: Terraplane, Geneva; MB1011 (1937)
Title: Terraplane, 1937--Geneva.
Appears in: B&W, Dec. 2002, p. 133
Description: Photoprint.
Copyright Claimant: Robert Walker
Date of Creation: 1937
Date of Publication: on or about 1Dec02
Authorship on Application: Marcel Bolomet, 1905-2003.
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Other Title: Terraplane, Geneva
MB1011 (1937)
Names: Walker, Robert
Bolomet, Marcel, 1905-2003.

&

Quote:
Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Number / Date: VA0000264982 / 1986-12-18
Title: The Terraplane.
Description: art original : oil painting.
Copyright Claimant: J. Calvary
Date of Creation: 1986
Date of Publication: 1986-10-30
Authorship on Application: J. Calvary.
Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
Names: Calvary, J., 1918-


The rest of the works are music, txt .......

Now a text that goes deep into how and if you can copyright a car in US/UK law can you find here http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/vi...18&context=ilr


As a German my knowledge of US law goes only so far. My common sense would be was this picture taken from a public space or not. If not, did the allow you to take pictures or not. However as I wrote first, this seems one of the cases where I really would ask a lawyer.........
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:56 PM
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~JMW~ ~JMW~ is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

That's an extreme case - and you didn't have it for sale?
"NFS prices" - So the NFS? ( not for sale?) but it still had a price on it?? maybe complicated things as it "might" be sold then..
Might be best to have signs - Not for sale... and no prices anywhere..
I'm confused on that part of your post..

As I understand USA copyright..not an expert at all tho..
If you were selling it (any price on it) then there is more of a copyright issue legally..

Perhaps this guy just wanted your painting for free.. and so got a "lawyer" to help him get it.. I don't think persons came come to your home and take things like that..
There should be a legal process, unless they asked & you gave it with no questions asked.. Did they show you any papers that looked legal or threaten you with a lawsuit?

For future , it might be best to ask if you can photo & paint a show car..
I'm sure many attendees do take photos, but possible painting, printing or selling of them is the main issue..
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Last edited by ~JMW~ : 04-16-2017 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:13 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

NSF = NOT FOR SALE. Court order was in highly tangled legalese but it cited the 1976 US Copyright Law which apparently states that although the design of a car is not copyrightable per se, any non-utilitarian aspects of the car can be copyrighted. According to the attorney, the orange/yellow paint job qualified as being copyrightable. In essence, the attorney said, the paint on the vehicle was as much an art form as any painting that I was displaying.
Ergo, the attorney stated that any public display of the painting, altho not for sale, was in fact a violation of the US Copyright Law.
The Court Order required 'said artist, without recompense, (to) immediately surrender said painted article depicting said car and any and all photographs or other renderings of said car...'
It appears that it will be necessary for me to trash 20 yrs of work and more than two dozen paintings of cars and trucks and tractors and...
Sic transit Gloria mundi!
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Last edited by old_hobbyist : 04-17-2017 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:32 PM
zardoz71 zardoz71 is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_hobbyist
NSF = NOT FOR SALE. Court order was in highly tangled legalese but it cited the 1976 US Copyright Law which apparently states that although the design of a car is not copyrightable per se, any non-utilitarian aspects of the car can be copyrighted. According to the attorney, the orange/yellow paint job qualified as being copyrightable. In essence, the attorney said, the paint on the vehicle was as much an art form as any painting that I was displaying.
Ergo, the attorney stated that any public display of the painting, altho not for sale, was in fact a violation of the US Copyright Law.
The Court Order required 'said artist, without recompense, (to) immediately surrender said painted article depicting said car and any and all photographs or other renderings of said car...'
It appears that it will be necessary for me to trash 20 yrs of work and more than two dozen paintings of cars and trucks and tractors and...
Sic transit Gloria mundi!

Personal, if I would run into this issue, I would still ask a lawyer and if there is a chance like your "fair use" I would challenge it in a court but I pay a monthly fee for legal protection so that makes it easier on my briefcase.......



There was a article about a art installation from Christo http://www.sculpture.org/documents/s...cs/grant.shtml

Quote:
[...]
However, Koegel notes the fact that the work is in a public setting opens the door to what is called the fair use exception to the copyright law. One element of fair use is the nature of that use. “An individual who takes a picture of [a work] to have a record of it in his home would not be a condemned use,” he maintains. “Making a poster to sell is less favored.” Since Wimmer’s career is sports, rather than fine art, photography—“I’m not a Chicago scenery photographer; I just planned to put the photograph in my basement”—his infringement of the law would not likely be prosecuted.

Were a painter to have set up an easel in Millennium Park, the artist creating a picture of a public work in a park, the likelihood of a successful prosecution again would be in doubt, even if the painting were intended to be sold, because of the creative and artistic elements that the painter would be bringing to the image. Again, there is no absolute measure of when infringement ends and a new artistic work begins. “The line moves, depending on how much creativity can be found in the new work,” Koegel said. “A photograph is less transformative than a painting.”

The fair use exception to the copyright law allows for use of a photograph of an artwork for educational, critical, scholarly, satirical, or newsworthy purposes—protecting schools and publications from infringement claims, for instance—and also requires a degree of “economic injury” to the copyright holder. Would a painting or photograph of a work of art lessen the copyright holder’s ability to profit from the sale of the copies of the piece? Christo and Jeanne-Claude have assigned the licensing rights to reproduce photographic images and sell signed posters of The Gates to Nurture New York’s Nature as a fundraising aid to this nonprofit urban ecology organization, and unauthorized knock-offs could cut into those revenues.........

More information https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:53 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

I guess I can believe that a particular, unique paint job on a classic car can be copyrighted. It's hard for me to believe they could come to your place and take the painting. How did they know you had it?

The selling of it doesn't matter except for punitive damages (in the US, anyhow). Because it is not for sale doesn't exempt it from copyright law or mean that it is Fair Use.

But there is a way you could get around their copyright. My understanding of Fair Use of an image is that you can use up to 20% of the image (as long as that is not the "heart" of the image) or modify the whole image significantly so that it is no longer recognizable as a copyrighted image. So you could paint closeups of, say, chrome reflecting a painted fender. Or even the reflections in a painted door. Lots of scope for abstract here.

The other thing is you could simply change the colors these cars are painted in and modify the pattern (if any, like flames or whatever) enough that it does not look like the same car. IOW, use the display cars as inspirations or reference photos only. You could create much more beautiful paint jobs than could be done by someone on a real car or truck.

I don't see how you have to give up what you love to paint. Just do it differently.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:30 PM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

The "20% rule" is a myth. If you think about it, it isn't measurable anyway
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:02 AM
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tobiano tobiano is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

I would not have given the painting to them without destroying it first. They should not get your work for free regardless of the copyright law.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:46 AM
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Is this the same vehicle that comes up if you do an image search for 'Orange 1937 Terraplane'? Seems like it's at a lot of shows and therefore would get photographed a lot, and many of these photos would more than likely be posted on the internet (which presumably would also break copyright law)...

My last car was unique, it never occurred to me I could copyright it! There are photos of it in numerous places on the net!
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:07 PM
Tatianapaints Tatianapaints is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Wow almost sounds like a scam. I have no idea but would wonder if what those two did coming to your door and walking off with your painting was legal.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:57 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Judges seem to have a hard time understanding creativity in general. In this case though, if they had a court order, shouldn't you have been given the opportunity to contest it and defend yourself first? I don't know the law in the US, and there are so many seperate jurisdictions anyway, but this example seems off to me. If anyone came to my door with a court order, I would want to make my own checks first.
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:27 PM
webart webart is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBertram
Judges seem to have a hard time understanding creativity in general. In this case though, if they had a court order, shouldn't you have been given the opportunity to contest it and defend yourself first? I don't know the law in the US, and there are so many seperate jurisdictions anyway, but this example seems off to me. If anyone came to my door with a court order, I would want to make my own checks first.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Sounds really fishy to me.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:28 PM
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

It would be funny if the people at United Airlines had tried the same thing. It is in the public view. By the owner putting it in a public venue (car show or whatever) he is tossing aside any privacy he might have thought he had. Any one may take a photo of a crowd or object (according to US Copyright). If they are only for your own "learning" then it is fair use. You have already said that you had it for NFS. You were not making plans to profit off of it.

I hope you checked the Lawyer. This would not be allowed in the US. A Lawyer is not a police man. He/She cannot go in your house and touch anything. He can write you a letter and ask you to do certain things. I figure you must not be in the USA because of the "strange" behavior of the Lawyer.

Best option: Counter sue
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:57 PM
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Cindy Schnackel Cindy Schnackel is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

This seems extreme to say the least. A civil case, such as most copyright infringement cases are, would not likely result in someone having authority to come to your house and take something. Not without there being a trial and a judge saying they had the right. If it were that easy to just barge into someone's house and take artwork that they allege infringes, I know hundreds of artists who'd like to beat down the doors of serious infringers, LOL!

Find a good copyright lawyer, and ask if this seizure was even legal, or if their lawyer even had a license to practice law. Most lawyers consult for half an hour for free to tell you if you have a case.

You could also pose the question on https://www.avvo.com/ a legal question and answer site where lawyers answer. I'm a proponent of strong copyright protection and easier enforcement of copyrights, however, I've never heard of anything like this being possible or legal unless a court says you criminally infringed and there's a search warrant, or a judgment that says you must turn over the work. This doesn't sound like any court really authorized anything, it sounds very fishy indeed. Interested to hear more if you ever pursue it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by old_hobbyist
I paint for pleasure not profit. I take fotos at local car shows and do paintings of classic vehicles, mostly chrome reflections. I show my ptgs there and in local art shows, always with NFS prices. An orange/yellow ’37 Terraplane caught my eye. I photographed it, painted it and displayed it at the next show. The owner told me that I did not have permission to paint his car because he had copyrighted it. A few months ago, he and his lawyer came to my house with a court order and confiscated the painting. Now I wonder if every image I paint is a violation of some law.
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:23 PM
webart webart is offline
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Re: Is everything legally off-limits?

What really sounds strange is that a lawyer would go to someone's house to confiscate the picture, that's not a lawyer's job.
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