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RE: Use of paleoart in scientific publications.
When illustrators do their work they do it under whatever contract they have
with the institution or researchers that requested it, including an
understanding on who owns the copyright to the illustrations done.
Typically, if the institution/researcher wants to save some money, they just
arrange for usage and the artist retains copyright. Often the institution
requires transfer of the image copyright over to them. The latter is very
common as it is the only way for them to use the images long-term associated
with their institutions/work in their various products, etc without
continuously bleeding money for rights. The Smithsonian has generally
required that they own the copyright on, especially, things like murals etc.
as I suspect most museums do, but all this is negotiable. When done without
contract, then artists should register their art for copyright. See Tess'
great book on stuff.
Far be it for me to defend Greg when he does it with such enthusiasm
himself, but I would point out that for an incredibly long time - decades -
he was amazingly open to letting just about any paleontologist use his
images in scientific papers, talks, etc. for free. I did once with Mike
Brett-Surman in a paper we did and I will always be grateful to Greg for
giving us (through Mike) the permission. Although it did help get the word
out on his work, it really was a real boon to a huge number of
paleontologists who needed this stuff and had, typically, no money to pay.
He did huge numbers of favors to many on this list during this period. So I
would suggest that any flavor in some of the emails on this thread that
would tread close to suggesting that Greg is trying to greedily snap up
funds he is not entitled to is pretty much out of line. He has earned the
right to explore this and I would suggest that many remember what he did for
them when they needed it.
That said, it does not mean the conclusions we all reach will be exactly
what Greg would want to hear, as more scientific illustration-like work does
tend to hang out in the scientific end of the pool (meaning most often as
part of the public good as are papers and usable as reference sources for
others) as opposed to the artistic end - although much of it obviously has
amazing artistic ability on display. I find, for the skeletal
reconstructions, I don't really have a good handle on what makes a Greg Paul
brand of art and what actually developed with others and was adapted by him.
Certainly reconstructing skeletons with indications of missing and
not-missing bones is a staple of paleontology, so everyone does it. How
about placing that reconstruction against a silhouette of the body outline?
I was pretty busy when these started happening and, although I associate
these with Greg, I have something in my brain that actually associates these
early on with Bakker. Of course, Greg worked with Bob about that time, so it
could be one way or the other, or totally confusing, or it may be some great
artist that I am uninformed about. Greg mentioned the old Left foot run
thingy, but does that leave everyone else with just reconstructions of
running dinos with their right foot down - an absurd notion, especially if
another artist decides he owns the right foot thingy. So it would be good to
hear from Greg details of what he considers to be his brand. It sometimes
comes across as the old conservative approach to pornography - can't be
defined but I know it when I see it. For pornography, of course, this never
works as many see pornography everywhere and want to use this as a baseball
bat to intellectual freedom. So, before I accept the notion of a Greg Paul
brand, I need to know what it is. Taking one of Greg's illos and putting a
new name and copyright on it is always reprehensible and thievery.
However, I am always bullish on supporting the rights of artists to actually
make a living and have put my money where my mouth is. With full
reconstructions it gets easier in that copies are more easily identified and
the art is less like a standard scientific illo. This is especially true for
artists with a distinctive style like Bob Walters, or Henderson, or Hallet,
or Gurche. Greg's well-known color illo of the tyrannosaurid running away
from view is a classic and easily fits here. So this whole area is I think
clearer in this context and in much better shape, although the judges who
have ruled in some of the lawsuits I have heard about always under-value the
art work that has been ripped off and winning doesn't generate the funds it
But it's that more pesky illustrative stuff that is really tough to work out
the full rights/obligations for - especially when done as an on-going
personal project as Greg has rather than as a contract for someone else.
Since many of these were published in Greg's books, they obviously have
copyrights listed for someone, presumably Greg (don't have them handy right
now) - so when they are directly ripped off, then there is some recourse.
However, if they are in the style of GP, then I suspect Greg will have to
consider it an homage.
Sorry for the length,
From: owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu [mailto:owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:57 AM
Subject: RE: Use of paleoart in scientific publications.
Let's accept Greg's line of reasoning just for the sake of argument. If
artists ought to receive "proper remuneration" for their illustrations, and
anyone using them in any derivative way should also pay them, then we must
apply that standard directly to the original artist as well.
Legal action currently underway may well end up defining preparation of
verebrate fossils as "copyrightable" work. Casts are already copyrightable.
That being the case, then the holders of the copyright on preparation of
vertebrate fossils, whether the actual preparator or his or her institution,
should NOT allow commercial illustrators to measure, view, photograph or
otherwise use those bones/skeletons for their work, which they will sell for
a profit. The artist should have to pay for every bone they view. Many
museums already prohibit the photographing of their fossils for commerical
use without a contract and payment. That could easily be extended to
artists and illustrators as well.
What about the special case of technical illustrators who are paid to make
the drawings? In my view, whoever foots the bill for that owns the
illustrations, and the copyright, not the illustrator.
This is by no means as simple and straightforward an issue as it has been
portrayed in this thread.
Richard S. White, Director
International Wildlife Museum
From: owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu [owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:06 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Re: Use of paleoart in scientific publications.
Let's be clear about something. If someone wants to directly use an image
from a technical paper in their own technical paper then professional
courtesy alone says first contact the person who owns the rights. That many
object that others use their illustrations for such purposes in subsequent
papers does not means it is OK to assume that the image owner does not
object. You might be wrong. If the image owner is fine with others using
image without permission (perhaps because they derive institutional income
don't care about income from their illustrations) is their business, that
others are not fine with this (perhaps because they are self funded) is
egually legit. The situation gets more complicated when using original
produce derivative illustrations for a new technical publication. Perhaps
some criteria can be discussed and set up on a paleoart website. Or maybe
there are already some rules detailed somewhere.
A basic point I am trying to get across is that scientists who have access
to grants should in the future be more alert to seeing that part of the
grant funds can be used to acquire illustrations for the paper, including
previously published images they wish to include. And while on the subject,
is more advice about requesting to use someones art for a technical paper
when such money is available.
Say you do have some money to pay for images for your upcoming paper. Don't
detail to the artist the images you are requesting and only tell her or him
you have some nonspecific money (especially don't say you don't have much
money without saying exactly how little, that just makes us artists groan).
It can be awkward if when the artists replies with a cost estimate it turns
out you don't have sufficient funds. Instead, tell the artist in the initial
contact what you can offer for what are are requesting. Say you have a
certain amount of money on hand that you can and want a specific number of
skeletal restorations. Then the artist can respond as they feel appropriate.
process would be made much easier if a standard pricing list were available
at a paleoart site. The site can also include a helpful section advising
scientists on how to approach artists for images.