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

On 10 March 2011 19:24, Bob Tess <bobtess@dinoart.com> wrote:
> More on the useful discussion while we are talking about the support of
> paleoartists:
> What about buying originals?
> There are those who would like to have them.
> There are those who would like to sell them.
> Can anyone think of a way to make a market place?
> There doesn't seem to be any good way to get an original Greg Paul or Mark
> Hallett to a good home.
> This makes no sense to me.
> Ebay is definitely not the way.

Why not?

I'm not saying that it is, just asking what the problems are.

-- Mike.

> And collecting makes good sense. John Lanzendorf made quite a bit when he
> sold his collection, I know, I did the appraisal.
> Some of the work being done today is of historical importance, i.e. the
> first life restorations of newly discovered species, etc.
> (This factors in to its appraised value)
> If there was a way for folks to find and buy originals, this could seriously
> improve the life of a paleoartist.
> Tess Kissinger
> On Mar 9, 2011, at 10:43 AM, GSP1954@aol.com wrote:
>> More on the useful discussion on this subject.
>> One line of thought badly needs nipping in the bud. The one that goes
>> that,
>> well, lots of dinoart used to be “influenced” by Knight, Burian and
>> Zallinger so what is wrong with being derivative? It cannot be
>> overemphasized that
>> the Knight et al derivative stuff was largely an enormous rip off of these
>> artists, and set a bad trend in paleoart. It’s a dysfunctional precedent
>> that actually illustrates the problems with derivative art.
>> I copied a lot of other paleoartists when I was a kid. But this was merely
>> learning the art at the private level, which is standard practice (in art
>> classes copying the masters is a basic learning technique). By my late
>> teens I
>> became very original in my work (even before the dinorevolution, you have
>> not seen much of this stuff because it is not usable). In other words,
>> even
>> if dinosaurs were still being portrayed as they were up to the 60s my work
>> would be original, not derivative.
>> And I am expecting the same of today’s paleoartists.
>> There is also a basic problem with being derivative that may not be
>> obvious
>> up front. The problem of perpetuating errors. Perhaps if folks had not
>> been
>> ripping off Knight et al then all the mistakes they made would not have
>> become part of the paleoart gestalt that held back the genre for so long.
>> More
>> on this below.
>> On line of questioning has it that if it is not OK to use my scientific
>> skeletal restorations, then does that not lead to a slippery slope in
>> which any
>> published images including the bones published in technical paper are out
>> of bounds, forcing anyone who wishes to illustrate dinosaurs to go to
>> exhibits and take their own photos of the bones?
>> Of course this is obviously true. So you all beef up your travel budgets!
>> Ha, had you going there for a second, didn’t I. Now, it is true that some
>> dinosaur exhibits prohibit photography for proprietary reasons (which is
>> why
>> photographs of a few major mounted skeletons have never appeared). In a
>> few
>> cases I have had to make special arrangements to use a mounted skeleton as
>> the basis of a skeletal restoration. Therefore, because most institutions
>> do
>> not restrict the use of their displays as sources paleoart does not mean
>> that artists’ skeletal restorations are in turn open source material for
>> anyone
>> to exploit without the right’s owner’s protection. In other words, when
>> museums do not place restrictions on the image use of their mounts they
>> are
>> waiving their copyrights at least in part.
>> As far as I know no scientist objects to the images of skeletal elements
>> and mounts that appear in their academic publications being used by
>> illustrators. If any do, they can mention it in the their papers. So this
>> worry is
>> moot, because no one objects.
>> Where things get dicey is if an original skeletal restoration is in an
>> academic paper. Strictly speaking, it is an original copyrighted image and
>> folks
>> should not use it as a major source without first contacting the owner of
>> the rights and getting permission and paying a fee if required. Now, most
>> such skeletal restorations are done by persons who for one reason do not
>> care
>> if others use them for their own purposes, and might even be bothered with
>> having to respond to pesky queries. But doing so without permission
>> entails
>> risk. What if one way or another your image derived without permission
>> gets
>> used in a commercial product down the line (which they copied from your
>> image
>> without your permission but it gets traced back to you) and there are
>> suits
>> filed by the original artist and so on. Uh-oh. Always best to first get
>> permission. Or do your own original image from the get go.
>> (Concerning my restorations being “scientific” in the manner of fossil
>> illustrations in the technical literature, the fact is that many if not
>> most
>> have first been published in popular works including PDW and The Field
>> Guide
>> rather than technical publications.)
>> I happily avoid the above difficulty by doing my own skeletons, which I
>> began to do in my current style back in 80 or so. Keep me out of trouble.
>> And
>> this brings us back to the problem of perpetuating errors. The other
>> reason I
>> do my own stuff is because I early on realized that other’s skeletons are
>> almost always errant, often in proportions, bone details (why so many are
>> so
>> often not able to get the basic bone shapes right is beyond me, there are
>> copiers and computers you know) and posture. And I have been complaining a
>> lot
>> about how almost all muscle profiles are not in line with bioreality (I
>> reemphasize that the basic muscle profile technique is not even original
>> to me
>> and I have no say in anyone else using it).
>> So if you are using others skeletal restorations it’s a good bet you are
>> perpetuating their errors. So do your own scientific skeletomuscle
>> restorations and avoid those pesky mistakes. If you do not have the
>> knowledge base to
>> know when you are perpetuating or making errors then perhaps this is not
>> the
>> best business to be in, leave it up to the experts like us.
>> Here is another example of perpetuating errors by being derivative. There
>> was a fellow who did some skeletal restorations back in the 80s. He did
>> some
>> things not longer considered correct, including orientation of the hands
>> in
>> bipedal dinosaurs, and forefeet too close to one another. Even today some
>> who derive their art from these skeletons are making the same errors. It
>> is a
>> sad thing to behold. The skeletal restoration were by that Greg Paul
>> fellow,
>> who has altered all his images since then. Ergo, I don’t perpetuate the
>> mistakes made by GP back then since I correct them.
>> You know, you just can’t trust anybody. Really, you can’t.
>> One lister cited field guides as an example of acceptable derivation.
>> Nein.
>> Back in the last century I saw a documentary on the creation of bird field
>> guides. It emphasized how each one requires extensive original research by
>> the artist. Not only to avoid being too like previous guides (to avoid
>> copyright issues, and to make the new product novel enough for birders to
>> want to
>> chuck the old guide), but to avoid perpetuating errors (the ground
>> breaking
>> original Peterson guides are literally outdated in this regard).
>> Most on the list have supported my position to a greater or lesser degree.
>> And it appears that this is becoming a topic at the Guild of Biological
>> Science Illustrators, to the point they are bringing up the issue with
>> institutions that have been utilizing derivative art.
>> But some have disagreed, and are basically saying that those who go to
>> tremendous effort to build up a body of technical artistic work have to
>> allow
>> all others to derive much of their art from that work. This is based on
>> the
>> idea that accurate restorations are the “truth” like photographs of lions
>> and
>> elephants. This is errant for legal and practical reasons. Starting with
>> no
>> one has to do work restoring living animals.
>> Also, in legal terms how does one establish what is scientifically
>> accurate? Say two skilled professional paleoartists restore the skeleton
>> of the same
>> species and they come out quite different. Say someone derives their image
>> of the species from one of the images, and the original creator of that
>> image objects. The derivative artist then claims that since the original
>> skeleton represents “scientific truth” anyone can utilize it? How is going
>> to be
>> legally determined that that specific image really is scientifically
>> “true”,
>> and more so than the other image? There are scientists who have criticized
>> the accuracy of my work. Again, best to stick to doing your own
>> restorations.
>> Then there are the practical financial problems, and issues with fairness.
>> Some who do the occasional skeletal restoration and don’t care if other
>> use
>> it don’t care because they derive little or none of their income from
>> their
>> art, being employed at a university or the like.
>> I have often been asked why I do not have a degreed position at a
>> university or museum. And I am also often praised for having done around
>> 250 skeletal
>> restorations, a fair portion in multiple view (no other large group of
>> extinct vertebrates has been so thoroughly covered, although Anton may be
>> getting there with mammals). This is actually odd in that the two concepts
>> are not
>> compatible. If I were dealing with administrative tasks, money raising and
>> dealing with students I could not have built up such a body or art. To
>> look
>> at another way, has anyone with a salaried job done a body of paleoart
>> comparable to mine including so many skeletons? Ergo, doing so much art
>> precludes
>> me from having a position. It is one or the other, and that means I have
>> to
>> derive my income from the art.
>> Consider my restoration of my favorite dinosaur, Giraffatitan. It is very
>> distinctive, being much more gracile and defined than most restorations
>> which
>> are lumpy and inaccurate (am still ticked off by the JP example). Every
>> time I see one of the errant restorations in a documentary or exhibit I
>> grit my
>> teeth, but hey at least they are not copying me. If on the other hand
>> someone using my restoration without my being compensated uses my elegant
>> and
>> superior version I am being taken advantage of.
>> Since we live in the most economically Darwinistic and libertarian 1st
>> world nation this is not workable. Unfortunately derivative such use of my
>> restorations has gotten so out of hand that it is becoming difficult to
>> get jobs
>> and other forms of income because of competition from those deriving much
>> of
>> their paleoart from mine. It has become ridiculous. That is why I have had
>> to put out the please cease and desist notice.
>> To put it in less personal terms, let us assume someone produces an
>> exceptionally large body of paleoart that is widely seen as the best
>> produced. Does
>> anyone really think that it should be possible for so many others to
>> derive
>> a large portion of their paleoart from the original artist that she is no
>> longer able to earn the compensation needed to sustain her efforts? Only
>> if
>> you think that is OK can you object to my actions. If you do not think it
>> is
>> OK then it is not logical to object to my actions.
>> The now iconic left foot pushing off pose has become a widely recognized
>> GP
>> brand. This does not mean that others’ dinosaurs can never be posed this
>> way, if it is merely occasional that’s OK.
>> Some other artists on the list have to a degree basically waived some of
>> their copyrights by stating that others can use their illustrations as
>> source
>> guides. Nothing wrong with that, but that is their personal decision and
>> does not mean that others need to do the same.
>> This discussion and issue have become a major topic among some societies
>> and guilds, and addresses important issues that involve major institutions
>> and
>> ethics. This looks like a subject that should be covered by the scientific
>> press – plenty of folks can be interviewed, the practices of institutions
>> queried.
>> And I appreciate Scott Hartman’s actions.
>> G Paul</HTML>