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Re: GSP statement on the use of my dinosaur restorations
So Mr. Paul plans to sue people who use his skeletal reconstructions
for their renditions, even in original poses and with their own muscle
Is he serious or was I misreading what I saw in the archives?
If it was a joke, and the other listers didn’t seem to find it all
that funny, then don’t read the writings below.
If he is indeed serious I'm not certain he's thought this concept
through for several reasons.
1. Per The Legal Guide for the Visual Artist, generally a work is
compliant with fair use if it is for informational purposes--this
would naturally pertain to field guides (ahem,) and
information-related papers and articles, such as Paul's 1987 "Rigorous
How-to-Guide" in Dinosaurs Past and Present, as well as his equally
informative 2000 article, "Restoring the Life Appearances of
Dinosaurs" in the The Scientific Book of Dinosaurs. I'm afraid that
since Paul has set the president of using his diagram-like skeletal
reconstructions in both of the latter, quote-un-quote, how-to-guides,
that his argument at proprietary usage of said works for the original
interpretation of other artists is nonexistent at best. This is
comparable to me creating a how to guide for illustrating Greek and
Roman Mythological figures and then later trying to sue artists who
used my guide for their own original work, in original representations
and in original poses.
2. Hypothetically, if such a concept as suing another artist for
reconstructing a real animal too similar to another artist were
viable, and I were as adept at restoring skeletal reconstructions as
Mr. Paul, and I reconstructed a particular animal unbeknown-st to his
own work but still to his particularly high level of accuracy,
restoring a crushed premaxilla here and a broken tibia there, and then
published my work, would Mr. Paul not be able to sue me claiming that
I copied his work?
Inherently Mr. Paul could sue me or anyone else for being "too
accurate" to what his own estimation of what an animal looked like--a
concept so ridiculous that it is almost beyond belief that it was ever
posited in the first place.
Inherently this lunacy could lead to a monopoly on the accuracy of
illustrations and representations of animals extinct as well extant.
3. How would he be able to know that a life restoration, posed and
restored in an artists own style and in his or her own interpretation
of lost musculature, used his skeletals and not another
person's--would it be a process of Mr. Paul taking a tape measure to
every piece of dinosaur art he saw? Invariably if such a draconian and
absurd president were put in place then many paleoartists would still
use his skeletal reconstructions, only they would skew the proportions
to an extent that they clearly were not based on his work (this isn't
as egregious as it sounds as proportional dimorphism is not uncommon
throughout the animal kingdom between the sexes and from animals of
the same species from one region to another), yet how skewed would it
have to be to be outside of Mr. Paul's propriety--two inches more on
the scapula and one inch less on the pubis?
The irony here is that Mr. Paul in the end would make the general
reconstruction and restorations of non-avian dinosaurs by the general
population of artists more inaccurate instead of less.
Though I respect Mr. Paul’s findings more than any other single
researcher in the field, I find the fact that he would make a, by his
own quotations, “Rigorous How-to-Guide,” and then make an about face
and threaten to sue or prosecute any person who used the information
in said guide to be --exceptionally-- unethical as a scientist and
Certainly, to prosecute someone for blatantly copying your rendered
poses and style, as a neophyte Raul Martin most notably did in The
National Geographic Book of Dinosaurs, as well as using his direct
skeletal reconstructions for publication can be justified in a case by
case manner. It is another matter to attempt to prosecute someone for
using Mr. Paul's -clearly- educational work in their own uniquely
If he does proceed with such nonsense, I can only impart the words and
contextual tone of Lee Van Cleef from the best western ever made; The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
“I wish you luck.”