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RE: GSP statement on use of my dinosaur restorations (follow up)

Just to clarify even further, the Smithsonian is a ward of Congress but
really is part of the Executive branch, sort of, and not really federal or
non-federal (it is real confusing and unique, except for the Institute of
Indian American Arts IAIA in Santa Fe), something that sometimes works for
it, and sometimes against it. So the SI generally retains copyright on
anything they produce.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu [mailto:owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 9:54 AM
To: VRTPALEO@usc.edu
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: GSP statement on use of my dinosaur restorations (follow up)

Just to clarify a few things:

Any work done by an employee of the U. S. federal government (i.e., the
person is in official pay status and thus receiving a regular paycheck) is
in the public domain and free from copyright.  This includes artwork,
scientific publications, etc...  This is why there is that special section
for U.S. federal employees on the copyright forms for scientific journals.
However, this does not necessarily mean that an employee should simply copy
works of others in order to create a public version (which is what I
believe Greg's point is).

If services such as artwork are contracted with the U.S. Federal goverment,
then the contract itself will spell out all of the copyright and use issues
and this will vary case by case. Just because federal funding is used to
contract the work, does not automatically put the work in the public domain
regarding future commercial use.

Bill Parker
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Division of Resource Management
Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217
1 Park Road
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028
(928) 524-6228 x262

"It is easier to play with secondary data than to collect primary data" -
C.H. Holland, 1989.

             Sent by:                                                      
             owner-VRTPALEO@us                                          To 
             c.edu                     vrtpaleo@usc.edu, dinosaur@usc.edu  
             03/07/2011 09:18                                      Subject 
             AM                        RE: GSP statement on use of my      
                                       dinosaur restorations (follow up)   
             Please respond to                                             

I would like to thank all who provided supporting statements on my post.

Some responders (incl typothorax@gmail.com) brought up some very pertinent
points and questions.

Assume that some person is being hired to produce restorations of
prehistoric animals for some form of commercial project, or gratis for a
such as the National Park Service for that matter (why, because if not
provided the art for free the NPS might have to hire a qualified person,
said person needed income).

The basic rule needs to be that that an artist produce their own skeletal
restoration based on original research. This would include using photos of
the skeleton, or an illustrated technical paper on the particular taxon.
then goes into your files as documentation of originality, and you can
publish it.

Do not pose it in my classic left foot pushing off in a high velocity
posture. Not because I am inherently outraged -- it would be rather nice if
for some practical issues. For one thing I have succeeded in getting some
payments for unauthorized use of this pose by major prjects that should
have known better. Aside from the financial issue, there are other concerns
you think about it. It is widely assumed that any skeleton in this pose is
mine, but what if it does not meet my level of accuracy? The trust in and
value of my work is degraded. There are gigillions of poses a skeleton can
placed in. Be original.

Lots of original skeletal restorations do not look much like mine -- I
suspect because they are not necessarily as accurate. If someone's original

skeletal restoration is close to mine that is OK as long as they have the
documentation of originality. A reverse example of this is my skeletal
of Hypsilophodon. When published it has sometimes been credited in
publications as based on Galton's earlier restoration even though I did not
tell the
publisher that this was so. In fact, my restoration is entirely original, I

used the illustrations of the individual bones in Peter's monograph, I did
not redraw and repose Peter's version. The reason they are so similar is
because Peter's was very good and I did not turn up major differences in
proportions or posture -- a rare event.

Perhaps you are thinking that it sounds like a whole lot of work to have to

go to the trouble to do original skeletal restorations for all these
dinosaurs, all the more so when a set of excellent skeletal restorations is

already available.

Exactly. That is the whole point.

I do a whole lot of work for every dinosaur I do, and it requires
considerable time. Traveling hither and yon. Digging up all those old
obscure papers.
Cross scaling elements. Raising my blood pressure trying to cross scaling
elements when it is not working out for some damn reason. Years of becoming

familiar with animal anatomy and function (notice how I turned out to be
right about giant theropods having flexed legs after all). Keeping up with
increasingly massive literature. Reworking old skeletal restorations as new

information comes in and the occasional oops about a prior effort.

For another artist to take one of my skeletons, and then get a job at a low

rate because they did not do the work is obviously not a workable

Paleoart is a distinctive subset of wildlife art because of the very large
amount of preliminary research that is required. It is not like
lions or penquins because their form is known and well documented. It is
also unlike fantasy art because one can make up anything without original
technical effort comparable to paleorestorations. Same with speculative
Because paleoart does require extended original research all participants
who wish to produce technically accurate art need to go through the
Here's why.

If a person no longer uses my restorations but does their own then they
will have to go to a lot more time and effort. This is good because it
compel said person to require higher payments for a given number of
dinosaurs, which will reduce underbidding on projects that those who do the
preliminary work cannot and should not have to match. Or said person might
decide it is not worth the trouble and will leave the business, reducing
number of competing artists to the needed advantage of those remaining.

So the choices are these --

Do your own researched and produced skeletal restorations in an original
pose. If some of these turn out it is very similar to mine that's OK as
as the documentation exists.

Do not do your own skeletal restorations, but do not copy my art either (i.

e. stay away from the Greg Paul look). There are some current artists who
do this and they are not violating my copyrights. I of course prefer to
such work is not as accurate as mine but what do I know.

If you do wish to base your work on mine first make arrangements.

If you are thinking that gee wiz doing your own technical research and
restorations sure sounds like a pain in the butt, or may be beyond your
knowledge base, and you don't want to risk doing inaccurate restorations or
do not
think paying me a fee is workable, then there is another alternative.
it is better if you do something else. I know, it's lots of fun
illustrating dinosaurs. But if you cannot produce high quality, original
paleorestorations is it really a good idea to be in the business? If you
for example like
the Greg Paul look do you really want to be underbidding me? Does not make
sense when you mull it over.

If I were getting all the work I could handle then I would not be upset
(except in certain egregious cases). But the situation has gotten
And as has been pointed out in the discussion it is not just me, a number
long working paleoartists are getting little work because those in charge
projects have gotten into the very bad habit of turning to newer artists
despite their work often being derivative. So someone had to call a halt to

the situation.

G Paul