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tluvs2create

Copyright ?

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When or how do I know if an image is copyrighted? For example a design on the front cover of a book, or from a magazine (I have one in particular that has a close-up from a piece of art that was created in 1181 ad). Can I take this art and use it in my own art? I have an image on a book that I have and it has no information whatsoever on where it came from. How about other images in books etc.... It is so confusing and I don't want infringe on copyrights but there are many things that I come across that are very inspiring to me. Most things I would most certainly add my own twist/artistic interpretation on it but is this in anyway infringing on copyright?

Thanks

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It's not confusing ... in a nutshell ... every image has an owner and is protected by The Copyright Law (in the US). You can only use the image if you can get permission from the owner. In other words, the answer to all of your examples is no, unless you track down the owner and get permission.

 

This doesn't mean you are limited to your own ability to produce images. There are copious amounts of artwork/illustrations/photographs available where you can purchase the rights to use them. You can use other people's creations in your own work, as long as you pay for it. It's very affordable these days. A good place to start is http://istockphoto.com

 

Mea

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting, because we went on a tour of a tile making place and they told us that they use images from the arts and crafts era (which was before copyright laws). The artist/owner gets her designs from images on the net and in books - takes them and adjusts them so that they are appropriate for tiles. They have been in business for over 10 years and are very well known (at least in my neck of the woods).

 

I am not talking about copying it completely as is. I guess just using it as inspiration. What about Leonardo's Last Supper - how many times has that been copied and used in various other forms?

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If you are creating original art that is inspired by something you've seen, then that is fine.

 

I recommend that you visit http://copyright.gov and familiarize yourself with the basics of the law, which are pretty easy. Every serious artist, professional or not, should understand what the law says. But for quick reference, a good rule to follow is "treat other people's artwork the way you want others to treat yours."

 

Mea

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One more thing ... I don't know if the tile maker that you mentioned is violating copyrights or not, but I promise that the law does not say "it's ok to ignore copyrights because you see somebody else doing it."

 

Mea

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There is one jewelry artist who got all huffy because someone else stole her designs and images ...

She was creating jewelry by using colored comic pages and you could clearly see the cartoon characters ...

It was kind of funny to see a thief calling someone else a thief.

 

Some companies always defend their copyrights no matter how small the infringement and others are too small to find you no matter what you do.

I feel you always have to respect the work of other artists by not ripping them off.

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For some reason there is a great deal of misinformation about copyrigths. It's not that hard, copyurights are not forever! Look at chapter three of the copyrignt law entitled 'Duration of Copyright."

 

subsection 302 states:

(a) In General.—Copyright in a work created on or after January 1, 1978,

 

 

 

subsists from its creation and, except as provided by the following subsections,

 

 

 

endures for a term consisting of the life of the author and 70 years after the

 

 

author’s death.

 

Note that the copyright is for the life of the owner and expires after the owners death as stipulated by the law but this is only for works created after January 1, 1978.

 

There are many works in the public domain and usually if the work was published before January 1, 1978 and at least 60 years old it's probably in the public domain.

 

Cornell University has an excellent chart that graphically depicts copyright expiration dates succinctly at http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

 

It helps no one to give out bad information, there are myriad works in the public domain and therefore unprotected. I do agree with Chris however and I wold think it better to create your own original works.

 

One other point, your copyright or anyone elses is only as good as the depth of your pockets and the skill of your attorney. Defending a copyrigh is expensive, difficult and lengthy and you have to go to court to defend it, the Government won't do it for you.

 

A particularly noteworthy source for graphics and images is the Library of congress at http://www.loc.gov/index.html

 

 

 

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"Note that the copyright is for the life of the owner and expires after the owners death as stipulated by the law but this is only for works created after January 1, 1978."

Charles, you misread the chart. (though it is a very handy chart and thank you for posting the link.) There are lots of protections for things published before 1978, covered by the previous version of the Copyright Law passed in 1909. Back then, official copyright registrations were required, or the work needed to be "published" under the certain regulatory conditions. After 1978 when the new law was passed, copyrights are assigned without official registrations or publication.

Getting back to the original question asked by "tluvs2create" ... except for the ad published in "1181" (which I suspect is a typo? there wasn't a whole lot of magazine printing going on in 1181), every other example she mentioned involves a published book or magazine, which was likely to be properly registered and/or met the regulatory conditions, and the copyright owner was very likely still alive after 1941, which means they are still protected by copyrights.

Mea

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From reading the posting, it appears the original piece of art appearing as a close up on the book front cover was created in 1181 A.D. If so, the original art is likely in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh I see, I didn't read it as "A.D.", I thought it was an "ad" from 1181. But reading it again I see that she probably meant "A.D." In which case yes it is in the public domain.

 

For copyright information on works of art in general, visit the Artist Rights Society ( http://www.arsny.com/index.html ). This group keeps track of copyrights for thousands of artists, famous and otherwise. On their website, you can probably find out if the artist is alive, or the date of their death. And if you're still not sure you can request a definitive answer from them.

 

I know I am a stickler on this subject, I admit it is one of my pet peeves. It's a two-sided issue. It pains me how most artists only see one side "can I get away with copying that?" but not the other side "please don't copy my work." I guess many artists don't believe they will ever create something valuable, therefore the copyrights are a barrier rather than a protector. I've heard so many bizarre and ignorant things said, even from college-trained artists. The information is easy to find and easy to understand.

 

Mea

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From reading the posting, it appears the original piece of art appearing as a close up on the book front cover was created in 1181 A.D. If so, the original art is likely in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

An additional question to this particular use (of a pictured item created in 1181 A.D.) , in my mind, could also be... as the item could very well be an item owned by a museum ..... does the museum maintain any copyrights on the image?

 

In years past, I have purchased 35mm photographic slides and postcards from museums that specifically has copyright information printed on the slide frames and on the postcards. An item created in 1181 A.D. (a very specific date from antiquity) to me certainly sounds like a museum item.

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The photograph of of an item from 1181 might possibly be copyrighted but not the item being photographed. I believe that every artist should strive for originality but there are works that are inspired by other works. There is an excellent article on just this subject by David Hendly in the Opinion section of Clay Times called "Around the Firebox" in the Winter 2010/11 issue entitled "Take Pains and Pleasures in Constantly Copying" Mr. Hendly postulates that it is a necessary process to copy as a learning tool. Mr. Hendly goes on to suggest that only by copying can a student grasp the techniques of the master. I found it to be an interesting discussion of he entire copying situation.

 

As far as the copyright for life, Mea, I completely understand that the copyright for life is the law NOW! It wasn't until recently and the chart applies for those works produced before the law was enacted.

 

An interesting conversation is arising out of the conformation to the Berne Convention. Recent court decisions have maintained that the artists has certain rights in their work even after the work has been sold to a customer. One of the recently upheld arguments regarded how the work is displayed wherein the artist believed that theyr work was being compromised by the method of display. The artist sued and won and the owner of the art had to compensate the artist. Recently we saw a work in San Diego County where the City had ordered a work of art to display on the bluffs overlooking the ocean and then decided that the work was not appropriate to the location. The City had to pay the artist to take the work down so as not to compromise the integrity of the display. We live in interesting times.

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