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  #51  
Old 11-27-2006, 10:31 AM
JMasts JMasts is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

I have been reading this with interest. Complicated laws, indeed!

I have a slight twist on this question regarding "who holds the copyright"? Here is the hypo:

Artist creates a non-commissioned one-of-a-kind piece - basically, it is a blank figure intended for customized paint jobs, and the artist has hand painted it using one of his distinctive characters and designs the "Piece"). Artist then sells the Piece to consumer. Straight sale for cash (with no contract or statements about ownership or copyright - copyright issue probably wasn't even considered by artist or consumer).

Subsequently, artist becomes well known and major publisher publishes a full color coffee-table sized book on these types of figures, and includes a picture of the Piece. The picture was taken by the artist himself before the sale of the Piece to consumer. The book, obviously, is being sold (i.e., was created for commercial purposes).

Questions:

Who holds the copyright in the picture of the Piece in the book?
Does the artist hold it?
Or does the new owner of the Piece now own it?

Would the law require the book publisher to get permission from the consumer (who now owns the piece) to publish the picture in its book for sale?
Or did they just need the artist's permission?
Did they need ANYONE's permission?

Does the consumer have any copyright interest in images that are published for commercial purposes of the the Piece regardless of who took the pictures? I.e., can the consumer object to publication without consumer's permission?

Thanks for any input you can provide (even if it is just based on your Holiday Inn experiences ).
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  #52  
Old 11-28-2006, 03:53 AM
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Araich Araich is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Artist makes work independently = Artist automatically owns copyright over artwork.

Artists sells work (without contract specifying transfer of copyright) = Artist continues to own copyright.

Photographer photographs artwork = Photographer owns copyright over photograph, limited commercially by Artists copyright over artwork.

Commercial use of either the photograph or the artwork depicted by the photograph are both prohibited except where license is granted by the Artist.
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  #53  
Old 11-28-2006, 08:47 AM
JMasts JMasts is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by Araich
Artist makes work independently = Artist automatically owns copyright over artwork.

Artists sells work (without contract specifying transfer of copyright) = Artist continues to own copyright.

Photographer photographs artwork = Photographer owns copyright over photograph, limited commercially by Artists copyright over artwork.

Commercial use of either the photograph or the artwork depicted by the photograph are both prohibited except where license is granted by the Artist.
Thanks, that all makes sense and follows my understanding. One more issue, though: does the consumer, the person who bought the work, have any rights (copyright, or otherwise)?
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  #54  
Old 11-28-2006, 01:56 PM
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Araich Araich is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

They own the physical work only.

However, even this is limited in many countries. For instance, in many cases the artwork cannot legally be altered in any way, or destroyed. There may even be limits over the way the work is displayed, in that it not bring the artist into disrepute. These are often know as Moral Rights and are also the property of the artist.

All of these laws, including copyright, have a simple function; to encourage the creation of artwork. They do this by protecting artists and their creations from exploitation and damage.
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  #55  
Old 11-28-2006, 02:23 PM
JMasts JMasts is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Thanks again! Very helpful! Seems like a good system.
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  #56  
Old 11-29-2006, 04:41 AM
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Blacksun Blacksun is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Araich,

Excellent explanation!
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  #57  
Old 12-03-2006, 05:28 AM
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Julianna Julianna is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMasts
Thanks, that all makes sense and follows my understanding. One more issue, though: does the consumer, the person who bought the work, have any rights (copyright, or otherwise)?
Additionally, copyrights can be sold in whole or part as part of the transaction...although it doens't happen often. For example, if an outdoor sculpture is purchased by a company who intends to photograph its building with the sculpture outside and use the photograph in promotional material, it would be wise for them to work out the copyrights to the sculpture's image at the time of the aquisition. The extent of the copyrights would be a factor in the final price paid to the artist. If this does not happen, the artist has the right to collect copyright royalties from the company because the company only owns the physical sculpture---the artist still owns the right to the image.

There are also moral rights, which I think can never be sold or waived by the artist. These cover the integrity of the work, and protect the work from being changed without the artist's permission. This usually gets ugly when the artwork is well integrated into a building or site and the owners want to remove or modify it. I'm having some difficulty finding it, but there was a thread discussing a situation like that several months ago.
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  #58  
Old 12-03-2006, 06:32 PM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

I find this discussion on copyright law very interesting. I would sure like to here from a practicing attorney about this subject. I'm mostly familiar with patent law having delt with that can of worms on many occasions. The short of it is that like patent law I suspect that the copyright laws arn't all that protective of the small individual artist. Does the government go after the copyright infringers or is that left up to the artist who was ripped off? It would be nice to here from practricing copyright attorneys or artists who have actually been successful in obtaining a judgement against a copyright infringer.

Last edited by SPRINGFIELD : 12-04-2006 at 04:20 PM. Reason: to long
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  #59  
Old 12-04-2006, 04:41 PM
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Araich Araich is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Yep, the real world is another thing to written law.

I once had a developer commission me to make a sculpture for their foyer, without asking they took an image off my website and used it in a 6 foot high billboard outside their development, on a major city road. The problem with this is two-fold. First the image they used to promote their development was copyright, and it's commercial use should have been approved. Second, the image in question was a work commissioned by a previous client!

Here's the rub; would you threaten the foyer commission and damage the relationship with the developer over this? No, of course not.

So they get free commercial use of one of my copyright images, in an uncontrolled way (it was a low res image and looked crap, plus they stuck text all over it and the colour reproduction was way off). AND it had the potential to upset a previous client.

What are you going to do?
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  #60  
Old 12-05-2006, 12:25 AM
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obseq obseq is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

One suggestion for online documentation is to disable right-clicking.
This prevents anyone from manually saving an image from your website.

Araich, how did you end up resolving the problem with the developer?
Did you let it slide, or did something come of it?
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  #61  
Old 12-05-2006, 12:29 AM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Thanks for sharing your experence. It seems like a great example of what I was worried about. I can only try and imagine how frustrating that must be.
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  #62  
Old 12-05-2006, 01:13 AM
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MountainSong MountainSong is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

In Hawaii is an artist who was commissioned to make several artistic signs for a town with the towns name on them along with a surfer and some flowers. The artist retained the copywrite and would not sell it to the town chamber. The sign has become rather famous and is in guide books all over the world.

10-15 years ago a photographer photographed the sign and silk screened it onto t-shirts for sell, the sign painter sued him and won a very substantial amount of money.
Some years later an artist painted a picture of the sign, sold the original painting and went to print on it and was successfully sued by the sign painter.

Then last year when the sign had been vandalized and was deteriorating a deaf Japanese guy with strong, fond memories of the sign and associations with it, came to Hawaii on his own dime, replaced the missing and stolen parts and freshly painted the whole sign front and back. He didn't speak English and when the press came to photograph him all he could say was "I Love Hawaii!!!"
On the back he signed and dated when hed done the restoration now the artist is trying to track him down to sue him too!

Id show you a picture of the sign but don't want to get sued also.

Moral of the story is if you made it and someone is making money off your creation and your not getting any of it you probably have a strong case. (and if someone is restoring it - be gracious and thank them.)
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Last edited by MountainSong : 12-05-2006 at 05:14 AM.
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  #63  
Old 12-05-2006, 02:16 AM
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Araich Araich is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by obseq
One suggestion for online documentation is to disable right-clicking.
This prevents anyone from manually saving an image from your website.

Araich, how did you end up resolving the problem with the developer?
Did you let it slide, or did something come of it?
Select and Ctrl+C will copy it.

I decided some time ago not to worry to much about minor infringements. To do otherwise would send me nuts anyway. In the case I mention above, I just let it slide.

That sign post story is hilarious.
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  #64  
Old 12-10-2006, 06:36 AM
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Julianna Julianna is offline
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Re: Copyright Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by obseq
One suggestion for online documentation is to disable right-clicking.
This prevents anyone from manually saving an image from your website.
Unfortunately, people can get around this by simply taking a screenshot of what they see on their computer. They can also go into their browser's cache to grab the image or view the page's source to get the path of the image.

So far, the best suggestion I've heard for preventing people from stealing your images is to not put them online. The runner-up suggestion is to put a copyright statement (e.g. (c) Your Name, 2006) or website logo on the image (and in a place where cropping or bluring the statement/logo would ruin the integrity of the work).
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