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Thread: Copyright Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    22

    Copyright Question

    I wonder if someone could help me answer this. I saw a post on Facebook of a photo of a beautiful horse running along the sand. I thought it was on my sister in laws page, although it was not her photo..it was one I think she had shared or liked. At the time I thought it was a great photo to try and draw digitally so I downloaded it and have done a digital painting. I am actually quite pleased with the result and would like to post it on this forum or on Facebook for my friends to see, but am not sure about copyright issues. There was no watermark or copyright mark on the photo. I have gone back through Facebook to see if I can find out who took it, so that I can try and contact them and ask if it is OK to post my digitally painted version (I am not using it for any commercial purpose) but I now cannot find the post. ( It does not appear to have been one of my sister-in laws posts and i have texted her to ask her.)

    My question then is....if I am unable to find out who took the photo, can I post my image for friends or others to see as long as I make some comment that it is a copy of someone else's photo?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    599
    Hi Patty, I paint/draw horses. In my opinion, a horse is a horse, they basically all have the same body shape, you can find a million horses on google standing/galloping/moving the same way. So I'm sure it's ok for you to post your painting here, since firstly you made the effort and can't find the photo back, plus you're not selling it or doing anything commercially with the finished article.

    Look forward to seeing your painting

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    22
    Quote Originally Posted by hildee View Post
    Hi Patty, I paint/draw horses. In my opinion, a horse is a horse, they basically all have the same body shape, you can find a million horses on google standing/galloping/moving the same way. So I'm sure it's ok for you to post your painting here, since firstly you made the effort and can't find the photo back, plus you're not selling it or doing anything commercially with the finished article.

    Look forward to seeing your painting
    Thanks for the reply...will post it tonight Look forward to your critique...be gentle with me I am a beginner

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Rome (Italy)
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    24,113
    Well, I guess the horse can hardly sign You a waiver with his hoof and I don't think there's anyone who can claim to have invented and patented the horse, but Someone Who never asked us any royalty ...LOL
    Last edited by Caesar; 02-29-2016 at 09:41 PM.
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    22,517
    If you're really intent on finding who did it (I assume you have the original photo that you worked from), you can do a Google picture search that sometimes works using Google Images -- Go to Google and select "Images". You just drag the picture in the search bar that you would normally type a search string. It will look for pics that match in certain ways. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not.

    As to the legality of it, I can't say because there are too many variables. And the people here are most often not lawyers and their answers are basically their opinion. It's an argument that has gone round and round many times over the years. I am not a lawyer. And this is my guess.

    Not that everyone does it, in the circles where people are more correct with their work, it has often been where one seeks out a clearance from the person owning the source photo or painting who then can go anywhere from use it, to give me credit and let me see it when it's done (kind of thing), to just saying go for it, to asking for payment for it. When and if one can't find the artist or photographer, you can always do it and post it, but if someone contacts you asking to take it down (fairly rare often dependent on how close and perfect it is) all you have to do is take it down.

    The copying of it is generally not the offense so much as showing the copying and making money off it. A lot of people use other works for the purposes of learning -- a time honored tradition among students-- something that was less an issue before the high visibility of images on the internet.

    People here copy, sometimes a lot. Often old classics which are more or less unrestricted for learning purposes. Some copy more contemporary artists and have learned a whole lot from the process. I don't think they have gotten trouble from it.

    On the other hand, one of the reasons there are fewer people posting their original work here is because there have been cases where their own artwork was stolen and among other things blatantly pirated by people claiming it as their own for commercial purposes. Also people copy techniques (very naturally shared), something that is not copyright-able. But that can get testy too. All depends on the people involved like if someone had a big breakthrough and they are developing into a signature style that they suddenly want to protect and exploit for themselves. That then becomes a matter of the person posting their own work and taking that risk is sort of on them as well to protect it. . . and therein lies the rub. So in the case of someone copying other people's work, it's a matter of how one wants to relate in the art community at large and how far they want to go with it as a business.

    I think people scream primarily when it cuts into their livelihood.

    Personally, I think copying is essential to learning. And I think that's legal when it's just to learn, but don't quote me on that cause like I say it depends on who is doing what.

    Anyway, I hope to see your progress as an artist in the forums. Art is lots of fun to be sure.
    Last edited by D Akey; 03-01-2016 at 03:38 AM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Australia
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    599
    Lol Caesar!

    Quote Originally Posted by D Akey View Post
    Personally, I think copying is essential to learning.
    Me too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    22

    Thanks

    Thanks to everyone for replying everyone. Just didn't want to start on the wrong foot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    22,517
    A fair point and good to inquire, not that there's a definitive answer. I will say this though, considering your subject, as opposed to the wrong foot, you may want to start on the right hoof.

    And bottom line is always to have fun with it. If it's fun the skill just sort of grows itself along. So welcome again, and hope to see you around here.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    107

    Re copyright

    my 2 cents worth.
    its on a public domain with no copyright or watermark.
    you can't give credit to the owner for leads to the original work.
    you not selling it.
    I've only once being told after a asking to paint an animal Photograph on FB by a photographer that it was not ok.
    ''The Past does not equal the future'' Anthony Robbins

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    302
    This is just my personal opinion as I am not a lawyer. But as an artist, if you are going to use photos as reference, I think you should assume every image you did not take yourself and which belongs to someone you do not know, is copyrighted. I think it is good you made an effort to find the photographer but the fact that the image does not have a copyright on it, or information about the photographer is meaningless. You don't know who posted the image. Or what they did to it before posting. They may have cropped out the photographers information. While I understand Pattyedge's comment that "a horse is a horse", it is in fact not a good measure. Secretariat was certainly not just a horse and I would would bet there are plenty of copyrighted images out there along with other recognizable horses. It isn't the subject that determines copyright but the image and who owns it.

    With all that said there is a very easy way to avoid any problems when it comes to using photo references you did not take yourself. Don't copy the image. Use multiple references to change the pose a little. Change the color a little. Change the background. Do all of those things and you won't have a problem.

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