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Re: GSP statement on the use of my dinosaur restorations



The discussion has progressed to a point where it gets absurd.

1) Stealing is not acceptable - no need to discuss this.

2) Using an identical pose, one that has become (by the work of Mr.
Paul, and by his own words) a standard for scientific reconstructions,
making them easier to compare, has nothing to do with plagiarism or
theft.

3) Mr. Paul now needs to make up his mind: are his dinosaurs
"scientific reconstructions"? Science lives by the open communication
of ideas and data. Nobody may just take a GSP drawing and copy it
outright (much less sell it), but proper scientific use, and use of an
identical pose in one's own drawing are certainly OK.

Alternatively, the dinosaurs are art. "Drawings", not
"reconstructions". This, obviously, addressed the many poil and other
paintings, the non-standardized-pose sketches, etc. Here, the
copyright is obviously stricter.

Naturally, both options are true: some of the work is art, some is
scientific - and some may be both. In the last case, the publishing
venue of the source plays a role: even if something was initially
created as art, once it is used to illustrate science in a scientific
paper, that rendition becomes part of the data the publication
contains, and can be used accordingly. Which means using it for
scientific purposes, not to make money.

I keep reading a lot of (self-)praise on how exact the "scientific
reconstructions" are. They may be, generally. Those of e.g.,
Plateosaurus (e.g., in Paul 1987, 1997, 2000) are not up to the
purported standard (Mallison 2010). That's OK; science lives by making
errors and correcting them. Mr. Paul had to go with suboptimal data,
too. But these pieces clearly are intended to achieve a high level of
accuracy, and Mr. Paul has used his "reconstructions" (and not the
"drawings") for further scientific use, e.g., for separating
Giraffatitan from Brachiosaurus as a new subgenus (Paul 1988).
Forbidding free use in science of published data (i.e., restricting it
to use only with the author's explicit permission) allows a sort of
censorship that is unbecoming.

So there's the crux: what is art, and what is scientific data? I think
Mr. Paul has answered that question by the way he uses his own work. I
am appalled that people rip him off on the art, but I have have no
sympathy as far as the proper use of the science part is concerned.

Heinrich Mallison



References:
Mallison, H. 2010. The digital Plateosaurus II: An assessment of the
range of motion of the limbs and vertebral column and of previous
reconstructions using a digital skeletal mount. Acta Palaeontologica
Polonica 55 (3): 433-458 doi:10.4202/app.2009.0075
Paul, G.S. 1987. The science and art of restoring the life appearance
of dinosaurs and their relatives: a rigorous how-to guide. In: S.J.
Czerkas and E.C. Olson (eds.), Dinosauria Past and Present Vol. II,
5-49.   University of Washington Press, Seattle
Paul, G.S. 1988. The brachiosaur giants of the Morrison and Tendaguru
with a description of a new subgenus, Giraffatitan, and a comparison
of the world's largest dinosaurs. Hunteria, 2(3):1–14.
Paul, G.S. 1997. Dinosaur models: the good, the bad, and using them to
estimate the mass of dinosaurs. In: D.L. Wolberg, E. Stump, and G.
Rosenberg, (eds.), Dinofest International: Proceedings of a Symposium
held at Arizona State University, 129-154. Academy of Natural
Sciences, Philadelphia
Paul, G.S. 2000. Restoring the life appearance of dinosaurs. In: G.S.
Paul (ed.), The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs, 78-106. Byron
Press and Scientific American, New York