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Old 12-11-2010, 01:56 PM
indaloman indaloman is offline
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Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

Two days ago I went to a exhibition of local artists works, where I saw 5 works of copies of a famous contemporary artist but signed by the copying artist as his own work as there was no 'in the style of' attributed to any of them. Spoke to the person charge, also an artist, who reply 'well he did paint them'!

Surely the artist has stolen the interlectual copyright of the orignal artist, or am I wrong
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:14 PM
aderfla aderfla is offline
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

No, they are violating copyright and I am suprised the person running the exhibit allowed it. I bet they wouldn't be so cavalier with a laywer representing the artist they stole from.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:30 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

I agree, I would be afraid to do the same thing because of a lawsuit. If someone did that to my works, I would also think about suing. And like Alfreda said, the person person in charge should also know better. What if they are sued too? When that artist paints his OWN original works, what is he going to do if someone makes copies of them?
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:24 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

I think that a lawyer would need to see the works in question in order to make a judgment as to the legality or lack thereof. Were the works copies of actual images (paintings/photographs) by a contemporary artist... or simply a pastiche of the style of a contemporary artist? Honestly, I don't think its possible to draw a conclusion without seeing the work in question... and while we might offer personal opinions or our own feelings as to whether something is ethical or moral, questions of legality are incredibly complex and probably best left to the lawyers.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:40 PM
aderfla aderfla is offline
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
I Were the works copies of actual images (paintings/photographs) by a contemporary artist... or simply a pastiche of the style of a contemporary artist? .


I think that's a good question, I was just going along with the statement "5 works of copies of a famous contemporary artist " but if they are in the style of that would be different.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:03 AM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

I think this sort of copy without any attribution to or recognition of the original artist is in rather poor taste. As StLukes pointed out, whether it is actually illegal is another question.

But then, I don't care much one way or the other about copyright. It is nowadays mostly irrelevant.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:35 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Interlectual Theft?

You can't reproduce a work for commercial purposes unless it is the public domain. You can mimic a style no problems..... artists are informed by other's work all the time. You can also reinterpret another's work..... some prize winning art in Aust recently was so close to the original artist's work that it caused a storm. Photogrphers sometimes use the format of famous paintings for studies..... a series on the minimata mercury poisoning by Eugene Smith (I think) comes to mind.

I am with Brian on this. I don't care much about it. I do dislike the notion of putting a "esque" on the end of a name to describe a style, eg, my picassoesque paintings. It sounds so "head up arse" esque.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:33 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

it's just so easy to add: inspired by the works of 'joe blow'

but it's also easy to morph the idea enough into one's own to not have to do that at all ...

if you're truly concerned, contact the originating artist and see if he/she cares ... provide images.

few years ago(2,3,4?) my local arts society lost a member (she quit in total embarrassed shame) and a sale (we had to refund) due to this kind of copyright infringement - was a good lesson/reminder to all of us on what not to do.

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Old 12-14-2010, 05:18 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

I don't think copyright is now irrelevant. Nor do all the writers, film makers, artists and other creative types who make their living selling works of "intellectual property".

It certainly seems in poor taste to show works recognizably patterned after another artist's famous work with out at least a nod.

If they were direct copies then they probably were in violation of copyright, even if the painting itself is in the public domain most reproductions are not. Some paintings are also registered trademarks, copying them without permission puts you twice in violation of the law.

The gallery staff should not have been so flip as "well he did paint them".
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:58 PM
paint-by-numbers paint-by-numbers is offline
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

I suppose it could come down to a side by side comparison. If the work is deemed different enough from the original then you don't even need to acknowledge the original artist. With music and other mediums it is easier to make a clear cut case of copyright infringment. But how can you copyright a brushstroke or shading?

If the copies were mirror images then that's one thing. But if they were just very similar to the original, then they may still be considered unique works of art.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:39 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

I suppose it could come down to a side by side comparison. If the work is deemed different enough from the original then you don't even need to acknowledge the original artist. With music and other mediums it is easier to make a clear cut case of copyright infringment. But how can you copyright a brushstroke or shading?

If the copies were mirror images then that's one thing. But if they were just very similar to the original, then they may still be considered unique works of art.


That is not how the courts have interpreted copyright infringement. If you make a work of art that is based upon another work of art, that is termed a "derivative work". Outside of the realm of "fair use" (which includes use in education, use beyond the copyright, use in criticism, and use in satire/critical commentary) to make a derivative work is itself an illegal act. Only the holder of the copyright is permitted to do such. There is no set percentage of changes that an artist can make to ensure that a derivative work is legal for the simple reason that only the creator of the original work of art and/or the copyright holder has the right to make derivative works to begin with (or to grant others permission to do so). One recent case involved the conceptual artist Jeff Koons. Koons based a sculptural piece upon an image from a postcard of a kitten in a stocking. In spite of a great deal of altering of the image from the original (2-D to 3-D, elimination of the background in the photo, etc...) the courts found in favor of the photographer. Koons had made a derivative work of art, and only the original artists and/or copyright holder had the right to do so.

Anyone can sue for any reason... whether they are likely to win or not. Those with "deep pockets" often use the threat of such to keep others from even thinking of crossing the line with copyright infringement. As such, the more well-known the artist of an original work of art is, the more chance you have of facing legal difficulties when using their images without permission. The basic rule of thumb might be place the original and the derivative work side by side. If it is likely that the average person might recognize the second work as being clearly derivative of the first, you are taking a real chance.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:11 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

It is bad precedent for the sponsor of the show to allow it without at least investigating it. It sends the signal that "anything goes" for potential entrants in the future.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:13 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

I'd suggest the only morally wrong thing the artist is doing is being lazy and not producing the idea behind their work. As to legally wrong, that depends where you live. Intellectual theft? every painting I see is developed from an intellectual pathway, if we can only use pathways where the originators have been dead for 70 years then the world would be very lock step.

In Australia it would probably be necessary to show that an artist had done material damage to the income of the original creator, when suing. I would assume that the local artist was not selling at anything like the price of an original and probably not to anyone that could afford an original, plus they probably were not mass producing forgeries (thus potentially damaging sale price of the original).

My personal view would be that the gallery should have withdrawn the paintings, with a gentle suggestion to the artist to modify the composition/ color/ tone and bring them back later.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:37 PM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
That is not how the courts have interpreted copyright infringement. If you make a work of art that is based upon another work of art, that is termed a "derivative work". Outside of the realm of "fair use" (which includes use in education, use beyond the copyright, use in criticism, and use in satire/critical commentary) to make a derivative work is itself an illegal act. ....One recent case involved the conceptual artist Jeff Koons. Koons based a sculptural piece upon an image from a postcard of a kitten in a stocking. In spite of a great deal of altering of the image from the original (2-D to 3-D, elimination of the background in the photo, etc...) the courts found in favor of the photographer. Koons had made a derivative work of art, and only the original artists and/or copyright holder had the right to do so.

Perhaps Koons should simply have claimed that his work was satirical comment on the original... ;-)

Quote:
Anyone can sue for any reason... whether they are likely to win or not. Those with "deep pockets" often use the threat of such to keep others from even thinking of crossing the line with copyright infringement. As such, the more well-known the artist of an original work of art is, the more chance you have of facing legal difficulties when using their images without permission. The basic rule of thumb might be place the original and the derivative work side by side. If it is likely that the average person might recognize the second work as being clearly derivative of the first, you are taking a real chance.

Of course, the more well known a work, the more likely it is that people will want to make copies of it. Sometimes a work perhaps becomes well known simply because lots of copies got made in the first place. So an artist that sues everyone that copies his work might well be shooting himself in the foot.

Anyway, once the work is on the web (and that is inevitable with well known works nowadays) it is out of the artist's hands: if it is any good, gazillions of copies and derivative works will be made, irrespective of what the law says, which is why I said in an earlier post that copyright law is increasingly becoming irrelevant.
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:50 AM
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Re: Legal? Morally Wrong? Intellectual Theft?

I have yet to enter a show or other exhibition without having to attest to the work being original, not from published sources or other's works. I would look at the prospectus, and if it has such a statement, I would point it how to the entity responsible for the show or exhibit space. And then I would avoid any involvement with exhibiting through that person in the future.

If there was no representation of the art other than it is "hand painted" . . . then the expectation is pretty low for it to be seen as much better than a painting sale -- sofa-sized or otherwise. That is just my opinion . . .

I came close to withdrawing from an annual show which one year allowed two giclee' reproductions to hang in the show, in spite of the "original work only" statement in the prospectus. They were not juried for awards after this was pointed out.
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