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#1 macdoodle

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:14 PM

I do and others sometimes use other peoples artwork all or in part, or reproduce a form from another material in clay.
There are lots of generic stencils and other items to be purchased.

If I were to trace redraw or other wise reproduce an existing design, and add more or not , is that similar to a copyright violation ?
Should it be called a reproduction if it is more than X % like another design?

Is there a line, and if so, where is the line drawn?

What are the legal and /or artistic standards?

#2 Matt Oz

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:04 PM

This article, about the artist Shepard Fairey, may be of interest to you. It discusses some of the things you are pondering.

Graphic Content | Shepard Fairey Is Not a Crook

#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:14 PM

Another "it depends" answer ... Some companies will always vigorously defend their trademarks and others don't. Sometimes it comes down to whether the artist can afford to protect their original artwork. People feel free to steal artwork from large companies yet get insulted if the potter next to them in the studio has work that looks like theirs.
Weird how all the lines get skewed.

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#4 Frederik-W

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:34 AM

"Bad artists copy. Good artists steal". -Pablo Picasso

An interesting quote :P
About your question: There is a legal/commercial aspect here, and an ethical one.

You can often get away by copying other people's work, because legal expenses are high and not everyone can sue.
E.g. if you sell copies and if it is a famous artist that you are copying - you're looking for trouble.

It is flattering for the original artist if you copy his IDEA and you ACKNOWLEDGE him/her.
But being inspired by an artist and using his idea is different to copying.
From an ethical point of view it is rather poor to copy or reproduce - it means you have a lack of imagination and creative skills yourself.
Taking parts of the original artists design and changing it is usually OK, but if you start using copy-stencils and make moulds of someone's work,
(reproduction), that is really going too far.
If it is my work, I won't sue you, I'll just shoot you.
:)

#5 Denice

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:35 AM

I always heard that if you changed six things on the design and you can use it but I don't know if that really works. The big companies can get pretty controlling, I had my son in a day care school of about 50 children. They had the interior painted with some Disney cartoon characters, some how Disney found out and threatened to sue them if they didn't remove them. Denice

#6 Chris Campbell

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

Yes, Disney has always been known as one of the most aggressive ... but I have been told that if these companies do not regularly defend their copyrights they lose legal ground. My friend works for a large company and sometimes has to tell artists at craft shows and such to cease what they are doing or they will be prosecuted. It is not innocent to try to make money off their hard work.
Sounds trivial but their livelihood depends on an image they have spent time and money to build up ... They pay their own artists to produce original work ... So, they defend their turf.

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#7 macdoodle

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:08 PM

Thanks all !
More comments/ opinions welcomed-
Looks very, and maybe too much, open for interpretation.

You all answered a lot more than this did-
http://www.artsjourn...m_vernacul.html

#8 Pres

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:01 AM

I do and others sometimes use other peoples artwork all or in part, or reproduce a form from another material in clay.
There are lots of generic stencils and other items to be purchased.

If I were to trace redraw or other wise reproduce an existing design, and add more or not , is that similar to a copyright violation ?
Should it be called a reproduction if it is more than X % like another design?

Is there a line, and if so, where is the line drawn?

What are the legal and /or artistic standards?


I have a pile of commercial stamps, pieces of lace, silk flowers and leaves, found objects that I stamp into the surface or slip, spray stains or glazes through, or roll slabs over. When I have finished with everything I do to the surface, these patterns become textures of a larger design-indiscriminate on their own, but lending depth to the overall idea. At least that is my aim. I believe a lot of the fervor from Disney and others like is to protect images from spoofing and degrading representation. Come on we all know of famous paintings and icons of the past that have been "spoofed+ in the name of art. This is not a judgement on my part, but Disney has a lot of childhood icons that could be hurt by unsolicited/licensed representation. So they protect them.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#9 DirtRoads

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:15 PM

I do and others sometimes use other peoples artwork all or in part, or reproduce a form from another material in clay.
There are lots of generic stencils and other items to be purchased.

If I were to trace redraw or other wise reproduce an existing design, and add more or not , is that similar to a copyright violation ?
Should it be called a reproduction if it is more than X % like another design?

Is there a line, and if so, where is the line drawn?

What are the legal and /or artistic standards?


Copyrights apply to artistic works. Trademarks apply to brands. Most ordinary artistic works and designs are not copyrighted. Unless there is a copyright registration, legal ramification is almost impossible on a derivation or part of an artistic work. However it is very easily proved on the reproduction of music, movies, books. The law is that the design must be changed 10%. And the holder of the copyright has to initiate legal actions and prove the work is not changed 10%. Trademark infringements are a lot more serious, especially with recent registration. Trademarks are always registered. Last week I saw some officials from a university in my state walking around the Canton Flea Market, looking for trademark infringements.

I wouldn't worry about legal ramification from copyright violations from using these compilations of various designs. If a company or person perceives a problem they will start with a letter asking you to stop. Copyright infringement is almost never pursued on an altered reproduction unless you are producing a lot or it's a famous work (think about the companies have to be losing more than the legal cost to enforce it) . During my import/t shirt design years I received about 30-40 letters concerning trademark & copyright violations. I evaluated the situations and ignored all but 1 because there was no infringement. Some t shirt designers are always squawking over designs, but don't bother actually registering a copyright on the design but send out threatening letters. I had one real problem with some Elvis bags which were trademark violations and worked with the Elvis foundation and gave them the source. They didn't remove my inventory and they could have. They just counted how many I had and told me not to buy any more and dropped the issue with no legal work. One company sent lots of threatening letters and telephone calls about copyright design on a fashion item but they never filed legal action because copyrights are only good for 2 years and we were past that time plus they knew they couldn't prove the 10% rule. This company would have stopped us with legal action if possible but "similar" is impossible to prove so they just kept making threats. But you if infringe on an actual trademark .... STOP at the first notice and cooperate. Better yet ... don't mess with trademarks. If you are a repeat offender with a trademark violation, you have a good chance of being prosecuted.

It's simply not "nice" to steal other artist's works/ideas. I wouldn't do it knowingly out of professional courtesy. The "lines" are professional ones, not legal ones.

#10 GEP

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:26 PM

DirtRoads,

There are lots of myths and misinterpretations of the Copyright Law out there, and your post contains most of them.

(I know there are forum members from all over the world, I am referring to the U.S. Copyright Law)




"Most ordinary artistic works and designs are not copyrighted. Unless there is a copyright registration, legal ramification is almost impossible on a derivation or part of an artistic work"

Not true. Copyrights are assigned to an author or artist as soon as the work is created. There is no need to officially register anything. All you need to defend your copyrights is to be able to prove you are the originator, and when you created the work. There are lots of legally valid ways to do that. Anything that is clearly a derivation or part is just as easy to defend.




"The law is that the design must be changed 10%. "

This is a common myth, it is completely false. A derivation is a derivation, no matter what percentage it represents. If the copyright owner can prove it is a derivation, it is illegal.




"but they never filed legal action because copyrights are only good for 2 years and we were past that time plus they knew they couldn't prove the 10% rule."

Copyrights are good for way longer than 2 years. They are good for the life of the copyright owner plus 70 years. And again, the 10% rule does not exist.




"but "similar" is impossible to prove "

Wrong. Derivations are easy to prove. Yes there are some grey areas in interpreting a derivation, but in many cases it is a no brainer.




"The "lines" are professional ones, not legal ones."

Yes and no. There are plenty of legal lines (which you seem to have unknowingly violated many times) but the reality is that many artists and small businesses do not have the time or resources to sue when our copyrights have been violated. Therefore we are largely dependent on the ethics, courtesy, and respectful behavior of others.



For anyone who wants to learn more about what the law says and what it doesn't, visit http://copyright.gov . This website is written in plain english and is easy to understand.


Mea
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#11 Mark C.

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:21 AM

Back in the early 80s I had 1/2 ownership in a ceramic pin and magnet business-we had 20 designs and sold to zoos and aquariums in US also a few gift shops. We press molded them and had a small copy write stamp on back. That stops most folks from going ahead with your design. We never did copy write a thing.
Mark

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#12 GEP

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:05 PM

Just to apply my thoughts about copyrights to the original question of this thread:

"If I were to trace redraw or other wise reproduce an existing design, and add more or not , is that similar to a copyright violation ?"

It depends. There is a provision in the Copyright Law known as "Fair Use," which means there are lots of ways in which you can use another's work without violating the law. Items that are sold specifically as stencils or stamps are Fair Use, the designer's intent is clear, they want you to reproduce those images. Other areas of Fair Use are open for interpretation, such as commentary or satire.

There is another aspect of the law where the line is very clear ... you may not violate copyrights FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. If you are a pottery student, and you are incorporating copyrighted materials into your work, or copying a famous potter's forms, and planning to give those pots to your mom, go for it! As soon as you start selling your pots for money, it better be free of these violations. It is against the law. And truthfully, as others have pointed out here, you could probably get away with it, but that doesn't mean you should.

BTW, everyone should understand that the link to the article about Shepard Fairey is an OPINION PIECE. It is not a legal analysis, and in my own opinion it is totally off base. It is basically the same argument as "it's ok to travel in the game of basketball, as long as you are star player, and your dunk was really awesome."

Mea
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#13 Matt Oz

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 03:03 PM

BTW, everyone should understand that the link to the article about Shepard Fairey is an OPINION PIECE. It is not a legal analysis, and in my own opinion it is totally off base. It is basically the same argument as "it's ok to travel in the game of basketball, as long as you are star player, and your dunk was really awesome."

Mea


Yes, I do hope people realize that is only one opinion on a controversial artist. I personally think he is a mediocre artist, his real talent is marketing himself. I'm sure he loves all the attention.


If anyone is interested, there is a popular blog dedicated to this topic.... You thought we wouldn't notice

From their description: Sharing and discussing the observations and casualties of improper use of creative property is what we're all about here.

#14 Scout

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:44 AM

Watch Catfish!

#15 Idaho Potter

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:02 PM

Brava! Mea,

I was getting myself all stoked to do battle when your replies wiped out my anger. I am surprised and shocked that people who are artists themselves would think nothing of copying another artist's work. The first time it happens to you it will devastate you. No amount of rationalization can lead an artist (aren't we all trying to be unique?) to give ethics a bypass and steal another's creation. If you have done so, shame on you.

#16 Lucille Oka

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 02:21 PM

A jewelry artist wrote about her experience with having her work stolen by a huge well known corporation. Her jewelry was not just copied but was in fact duplicated, for her own finger prints that were on her original models appeared on the stolen designs.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#17 Scout

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

Lucille, nothing like justice!

#18 TJR

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

I think that one of the reasons Disney cartoons are so easily and frequently copied is because they are all over the place. Any shmoe can get a Disney colouring book, make an overhead transparency ,project it onto the wall and fill in the colours. The same goes for the Simpsons. Used to be the same with Fred Flintstone, but I am dating myself. Sadly, legitimate artists don't get a crack at the mural job because every day care and elementary school wants Mickey Mouse and Bambi.I support Disney's legitimate claim to their artistic property, but they can be a bit high handed about it.
TJR.

#19 LawPots

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:36 PM

Another "it depends" answer ... Some companies will always vigorously defend their trademarks and others don't. Sometimes it comes down to whether the artist can afford to protect their original artwork. People feel free to steal artwork from large companies yet get insulted if the potter next to them in the studio has work that looks like theirs.
Weird how all the lines get skewed.


If a company wants to keep a trademark, they defend it. So, for example, Disney has trademarks in its characters - so it defends not just the copyright, but also the character's association with any commercial or educational enterprise. Since their commercial reach is so big, almost every use of a disney character could be infringing the trademark. It's copyright is a slightly different matter.

#20 LawPots

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:39 PM

A jewelry artist wrote about her experience with having her work stolen by a huge well known corporation. Her jewelry was not just copied but was in fact duplicated, for her own finger prints that were on her original models appeared on the stolen designs.


Sounds like the artist could get a big payday from that company, if they can afford to get a lawyer to do the case.




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