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

I can understand the points being made here, and I realise a lot of work has
gone into your skeletal reconstructions.

However, I think there's another point which is that the more a
reconstruction (not of pose I think, but certainly of a body shape) is based
on original research, the more the finished work has to be considered as a
scientific endevour - subject to scientific criticism but also subject to
being used by anyone for any reason in just the same way that any other
scientific research is.  Knowledge - unless you've found a way to patent
it - is supposed to be taken and built on by succeeding people - whether
they're scientists or artists and whether their work meets with your
approval or not.  You can own an individual artwork, but you can't own the
truth about an animal no matter how much work you've put into discovering
that truth.

Just putting an alternate view -you've every right to be annoyed by some of
what goes on, I'm sure. I just don't know there's a lot you can do.


----- Original Message ----- From: <GSP1954@aol.com>
To: <vrtpaleo@usc.edu>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: GSP statement on use of my dinosaur restorations (follow up)

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 nonprofit
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, providing
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. This
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 not for some practical issues. For one thing I have succeeded in getting some big
payments for unauthorized use of this pose by major prjects that should
have known better. Aside from the financial issue, there are other concerns if
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 be
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 restoration
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 the 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 illustrating
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 aliens.
Because paleoart does require extended original research all participants
who wish to produce technically accurate art need to go through the process.
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 should
compel said person to require higher payments for a given number of
dinosaurs, which will reduce underbidding on projects that those who do the extensive
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 the
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 long
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 think
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. Perhaps
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 ridiculous. And as has been pointed out in the discussion it is not just me, a number of long working paleoartists are getting little work because those in charge of
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