WetCanvas
Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Channels:
Search for:
in:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > The Art Business Center > General Art Business > Legal Corner
User Name
Password
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

Our Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 07-05-2002, 03:59 PM
edith edith is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 891
 
Question Celebrity Portraites Question

Hi everyone,
I have been browsing the net and came across several professional artists who display celebrity portraits for sale.

While they are very well done in a lot of cases no way can they claim to work from their own photographs

My question then is this; how can they display their work for sale, when even to display a piece of work copied from someone else's photographs or other materials - and not acknowledging the source - is a copyright infringement? Isn't it?

Or do i have it wrong? I have seen celeb pics on wc and have indeed displayed one i did of Elvis myself so am i in copyright infringement too?

How does one protect themselves from breeching copyright law if they wish to draw celebrity drawings and display them? Or can they not?

I am told that some people get photocopies from library books, magazines, film books, video shops, postcards etcetera and then copy them and sell them. In fact this practise is displayed on the net so how do they do it? Are they taking a huge risk?

This question may have been answered somewhere else but i would be pleased to hear any and all comments legally based if possible.
Many thanks for reading this. Take care and see you soon.
__________________
"Never live life faster than your Guardian Angel can fly."
Reply With Quote
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 07-05-2002, 07:52 PM
Chuck Levitin's Avatar
Chuck Levitin Chuck Levitin is offline
Senior Member
Ramona, California
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 328
 
Hails from United States
Re: Celebrity Portraites Question

Quote:
Originally posted by edith
My question then is this; how can they display their work for sale, when even to display a piece of work copied from someone else's photographs or other materials - and not acknowledging the source - is a copyright infringement? Isn't it?.

I see you are from England and I am not familiar with UK copyright laws. However, in the U.S., if you take a photograph of a famous person, you only own the copyright on your photograph...you do not own the rights to an image of the famous person. You cannot just make a photographic copy of the photo for commercial use without the copyright holder's permission. However, you can certainly use the photo as a reference for a painting in another medium without the photographer's consent.

In the U.S. there is another issue, as famous people have a "right to publicity". That is a right to exploit their image for commercial purposes.
__________________
Vale mas una gota de verdad que un mar de mentiras.
Reply With Quote
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 07-05-2002, 07:58 PM
edith edith is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 891
 
thanks for the reply.
so the way i read it is that i can make a drawing/painting from a photograph to sell or keep without photographers permission. is that correct? many thanks.
__________________
"Never live life faster than your Guardian Angel can fly."
Reply With Quote
  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-01-2003, 03:26 PM
edenart's Avatar
edenart edenart is offline
Veteran Member
LA
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 677
 
Hails from United States
Is that true? I'm struggling with this same question! I wanted to do some portraits of musicians (in my own style not just a realistic copy of a photo). So, can I paint from a photo of Madonna and not worry about the original photographer's copyright of the image? Does it matter if the subject is living or dead? I've thought of doing some artists. David Hockney, Andy Warhol... Hmmm? I wish this wasn't so confusing. I don't want to do anything to violate any copyrights, but I do a lot of portraits and thought it might be fun to throw some celebs into the mix. Any help is appreciated!

Eden
Reply With Quote
  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-01-2003, 04:16 PM
mel-ink's Avatar
mel-ink mel-ink is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Bismarck, ND
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,213
 
Hails from United States
A general rule of thumb I use for copyright is: use any photographs for reference you want, but you better make darn sure you can't tell which photographs you've used. Photographs are protected by copyright the same way artwork is, because photographs ARE artwork, too. You can draw a portrait of a famous person from photograph for learning purposes, but you cannot publish or sell it.
__________________
mel

my website
Reply With Quote
  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-01-2003, 04:35 PM
edenart's Avatar
edenart edenart is offline
Veteran Member
LA
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 677
 
Hails from United States
If you can't sell or publish paintings of famous people, then what's the deal with artists like Elizabeth Peyton who paints David Hockney all the time. She's famous now, but surely when she began, she didn't have his permission. And she definitely sells those works.
Reply With Quote
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-01-2003, 05:24 PM
edenart's Avatar
edenart edenart is offline
Veteran Member
LA
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 677
 
Hails from United States
Okay. I just found an article which gave me the answer I'm looking for. Photographs may be used as source material if your painting transforms the final image so that the source photograph is no longer recognizable in a side-by-side comparison. And paintings may be created of famous people if the painting itself has artistic merits that go beyond a mere realistic representation of the person depicted. That's why Warhol's paintings are protected, but a realism portrait of Marilyn Monroe might not be.

The goal of the courts, it seems is to determine whether the artwork has a goal or artistic message apart from a mere representation of a certain celebrity. If the art is making a social commentary or is depicted in a non-realistic style then it is apparently protected. If it's just a painting of a realistic image of a celebrity, then it's possibly not protected because the courts may see the art as merely trying to capitalize on the celebrity of a certain individual without adding anything to the work.

Looks like portraits in my own "pop" style would be fine as long as I make sure they don't look just like a photo, which they don't because that's not what I do!
Reply With Quote
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-05-2003, 01:37 AM
bjasmine's Avatar
bjasmine bjasmine is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 14
 
Hails from Canada
Celebrity portraits

"IANAL" (I am not a lawyer) ... but ... I am working on some celebrity portraits and I have studied the issue a lot over a couple years. There are numerous different laws that apply - copyright, trademark, privacy, and right of publicity - and the they differ from country to country and even state to state. Be VERY careful if you live in California. It does not matter if the celebrity is living or dead. Their estate has the right to their image.

Now as I understand it - you can do a painting for your own use, even for a "fan site" on the Internet without permission from the celebrity. I am not sure about for use in a portfolio or samples you mail to prospective clients (I am still working on the legal issues surrounding my own) - however I recently spoke to the lawyer for a famous (late) celebrity, and he said he'd have no problem with that. What he'd have a problem with and others would not - is impossible to say. I cannot find any case law on that.

See: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/iclp/manship1.htm (fan sites)

As I understand the law, you may sell portraits and cartoons to magazines, for editorial illustrations, without permissions (though it may still be recommended to get those permissions if you can - but that is the magazine's responsibility, not yours - I would write that responsibility into my contracts too).

You DO need permission from the original photographer to do so, however. You may "get away" without getting that permission - by making the painting so different the photographer does not recognize their work. But there are also archives of portraits available where you can purchase such images (Associated Press Etc). Paparazzi will sell licenses to artists to use their photos. I would not assume all these other artists did not get permissions just because they don't credit photographers. That may well be the case - but do you want to take the risk? I know of one photographer getting a significant settlement when one of his photos was used without permission.

What you cannot do - under any circumstances is a poster, calendar, card, t-shirt etc with the image of a celebrity without their permission. You cannot use it in advertising (not even as parody).

These are all generalizations of course. There are many people flouting the law and getting away with it. I don't recommend that.
__________________
---

Brandi Jasmine - www.brandijasmine.com - www.astrology.ca
Reply With Quote
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-22-2003, 01:34 PM
geckonia's Avatar
geckonia geckonia is offline
A WC! Legend
SF Bay Area
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 10,166
 
Hails from United States
Eden and bjasmine have the right idea here. I live in California where the laws are tight and have done a few realistic celeb portraits. The first thing I do is ask the photographer for permission. Then I ask the Estate of the Celeb for permission to display the work. If they approve it, I usually work out some sort of royalty for them. Their policy is fair I think. I get to sell the original and keep all the cash, but they get 10-15% of any print sales, etc. They like the idea of artists creating images of them! They even told me if I gave them a jpeg for their site they would wave the royalty fees.
__________________
Gecko Graphics
flickr
Reply With Quote
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-22-2003, 11:07 PM
Chuck Levitin's Avatar
Chuck Levitin Chuck Levitin is offline
Senior Member
Ramona, California
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 328
 
Hails from United States
Well, you guys are getting closer to the truth. Under California law you may paint and sell an original work of fine art of a celebrity without permission. If the person is dead, then there is a specific exclusion under California Civil Code Sec. 990 (n)(3) and Sec. 3344.1 (a)(2). If the person is alive, you may also paint an original work of fine art as long as it is not done in a manner to imply commercial endorsement of something. That's from Sec. 3344(e). As long as you only paint originals, you can do as many as you want. If you start to make prints for sale, you may run afoul of the law.

California likes artists.
__________________
Vale mas una gota de verdad que un mar de mentiras.
Reply With Quote
  #11   Report Bad Post  
Old 06-10-2003, 02:26 PM
Brownie Brownie is offline
Senior Member
Sarasota, Fl, USA
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 103
 
Hails from United States
Marilyn?

Is every picture of her copyrighted, does anyone know? I'd like to do a painting of her for an auction...need to be done by Friday!!!

I am aware that the photogs own their works, but is there a time limit? I tend to realism, so one might guess the photo used as reference, though I do not do photo-realistic work. One would definitely know that it was a painting, not a photograph.

Just steer clear of the whole mess???

Or would anyone know of a web site where the photos of some famous people (who I would never be likely to meet) are NOT copyrighted?

Thanks for any help, Brownie
P.S. In Florida
Reply With Quote
  #12   Report Bad Post  
Old 06-10-2003, 02:48 PM
mel-ink's Avatar
mel-ink mel-ink is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
Bismarck, ND
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,213
 
Hails from United States
Copyright is enforced for the life of the artist or photographer of the original work for their lifetime plus 75 years. All photographs of Marilyn Monroe are surely copyrighted and if you can recognize the photograph where it came from, I wouldn't do it. A lot of people violate the law anyway and a lot do not get caught, but why risk the cost and your own reputation for copying someone else's work? IMHO steer clear of the whole mess!!
__________________
mel

my website
Reply With Quote
  #13   Report Bad Post  
Old 06-10-2003, 06:00 PM
Brownie Brownie is offline
Senior Member
Sarasota, Fl, USA
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 103
 
Hails from United States
So, it would seem to me, even if one sketched from images on the TV, those images are also someone else's art product, so no vision is uncopyrighted, it would seem!
So sad, I'll never meet any of the stars, and yet this particular show that is coming up would lend itself to that tremendously, especially since the submitted paintings are suposed to represent a portrait group and relate to films! <sigh>
Ok, anyone have a famous movie quote that could accompany an Indian chief portrait, a cowboy portrait or a pensive, ballet type looking portrait that they'd care to share with someone who seldom goes to the movies? Brownie

Last edited by Brownie : 06-10-2003 at 06:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14   Report Bad Post  
Old 06-15-2003, 09:38 AM
paintergirl's Avatar
paintergirl paintergirl is offline
A WetCanvas! Patron Saint
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,545
 
Hails from Canada
Excellent post and follow-up responses, I had been wondering myself about that till I stumbled upon it here. Thanks
__________________
"When I hesitate, I do not paint. When I paint, I do not hesitate." ~ Jean Paul Riopelle
Reply With Quote
  #15   Report Bad Post  
Old 10-05-2008, 10:40 AM
ronnie56 ronnie56 is offline
Member
chappaqua, ny
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 87
 
Hails from United States
Re: Celebrity Portraites Question

I read all this and am still wondering about Elizabeth Peyton and how she has based an entire body of work (and has gotten quite famous, and sells each painting for hundreds of thousands of dollars) on photos taken by others. She finds photos of people published in magazines like vogue and rolling stone that intrigue her, and paints her version of said photo. Are we to assume that she has gotten permission from each photographer, or is it that her work has just enough abstraction to qualify as uniquely hers even though the original image that it was based on was not hers? I too have seen photos that are incredibly beautiful and interesting -- why not just do what Elizabeth Peyton does?
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:57 AM.


© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.