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Re: copyright issues



on 12/6/02 8:12 AM, David Peters at davidrpeters@earthlink.net wrote:

> Perhaps your issue with my request to have the website removed also
> hinges on whether or not the original photograph was part of the
> intended copyright. I'm not trying to co-opt the copyright of the
> Wellnhofer photograph. Thata's a separate layer in a Photoshop file. I
> think I own the tracing I made of it. If I don't, then you'll have to
> decide whether Bennett or Wellnhofer own it, if you don't want to place
> it in the public domain at the moment of its creation.


If the tracing is recognizable as having been made from the Wellnhofer
photograph, and you did not have permission to use the photograph in such a
manner, you are in violation of copyright law. The proper way to go about
such a thing would be to contact the owner of the copyright, explain that
you would like to trace the photograph to illustrate such and such a point,
then, if you receive permission (I would suggest getting it in writing, just
to cover your ass), place next to your illustration a dislaimer like "traced
from a photograph by Blah Blah, used with permission." If you do NOT receive
permission from the copyright holder, you either find another photo, or take
one of your own. Asking permission is as much common courtesy as it is
following the law. This is why artists who produce portraits by commission
from photographs always work from either their own photos, or snapshots
taken by the client, never from pictures taken by a professional
photographer.

As to the ownership of the tracings, certainly you would own the physical
item, and the copyright relating to any unique qualities of the tracing that
are not present in the photograph. The actual copyright of the entire
tracing, since it is based on a photograph not owned by you, would be a grey
area. If you want it sorted out I would consult a copyright attorney.
Receiving permission from the copyright holder of the photograph would erase
any doubt in regards to whether the tracing is in violation of copyright
laws or not.

This entire issue has been discussed here before, when someone used a vector
based program to trace to
FWIW, when I was in art college, we were told that if we wanted to use
photographs for reference for illustrations, we bloody well better take them
ourselves or get a release from the photographer.

Jess Ruffner-Booth
www.demonpuppy.com