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Re: dino branding

Hello all,

One salient point regarding signatures on technical works is that 
artists/illustrators rarely have the option of putting a signature on technical 
scientific illustration. Within paleontology, my illustrations of skeletal 
elements and life restorations have typically been attributed by the authors 
with a variant of "Thanks to D. Vital" in the acknowledgements.

Within entomology, my technical illustrations have at times been unacknowledged 
(by name) in journals depending on journal practice (i.e. If there is no 
acknowledgement section, there aren't acknowledgements).

The habits of individual authors and journals don't necessarily allow artists 
to have technical work attributed. And there are those who say that technical 
illos. are scientific evidence, so a signature would be inappropriate.

So, unfortunately, self-attribution is not a straightforward issue. This 
question has been raised in the course of this debate, most recently by David 
Marjanovic and Henrich Mallison. Copyrights are a messy issue, of course, so 
this is just one more variable to consider.


Demetrios Vital

-----Original Message-----
From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
Sender: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 10:44:23 
To: DML<dinosaur@usc.edu>
Reply-To: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
Subject: Re: dino branding

> They also clarify comparison between species. Even if different 
> artists have created them.

I'm sure this is exactly why many of the more scientifically artists, 
Scott Hartman for instance, have imitated this pose. I absolutely do not 
understand why anyone would assume evilness a priori.
> reaction:
> Wrong, wrong and wrong. IF pose were copyrightable, it would be 
> attributed to the first instance - not to the most consequent 
> repetition. The pose is useful for transmission of scientific 
> knowledge about a species and therefore needs to be out there - imo 
> for ethical reasons. Finally, I would be very surprised if pose can be 
> subjected to copyright.


What might be considered unique to Mr Paul's illustrations is his 
application of the pose in question to _all_ limbed vertebrates, even 
those incapable of running (they're shown walking as fast as possible), 
even those that may never have walked or swum fast at all (I'm not sure, 
but I think he has illustrated temnospondyls that were probably 
obligatorily aquatic that way). But for cursorial dinosaurs it's now the 
industry standard; early in this discussion I compared it to the history 
of the word "walkman", with the difference that "walkman" _was_ 
originally intended as a brand name rather than as the word for the kind 
of device it designates.

> I agree with Heinrich that this demand on pose is damaging to your own 
> declared purpose of defending valid copyright issues. It is a lost 
> battle and rightly so. The true battle about your artwork will be hard 
> enough to fight.... all you are doing is shooting yourself in the foot 
> and mocking the respect that generations of artists have for you.

Also seconded.

>> Eventually the pose became my brand.

Well, no. You just made it a trend; I can't see how you own the trend.

Another comparison: In 1988, Gauthier (with coauthors) coined the name 
Archosauromorpha and defined it as the archosaur total group (everything 
closer to archo- than to lepidosaurs). In 2004, he had moved on to 
giving all total groups the name of their crown group with "Pan-" in 
front, so he used the definition of Archosauromorpha for Pan-Archosauria 
and gave Archosauromorpha a new, node-based definition. No. This hasn't 
been accepted. Gauthier came up with the name, like you came up with the 
successful correction of Bakker's pose; he doesn't own it. The name is 
out there in the community, it's in widespread use, he can't call it back.

>> Here's a reason it can be important to
>> protect this sort of thing. Say someone has published a large number of
>> side view dinosaur restorations all in the same pose that most 
>> researchers
>> consider high in qaulity, and everyone comes to recognize as having 
>> been done by
>> that guy.

See, that's already a highly arguable point. I don't know if more people 
thing "Gregory S. Paul" when they see that pose than think "that's how 
-- for, presumably, some reason -- skeletal restorations of dinosaurs 
are traditionally done, because all or almost all I've ever seen are in 
that pose".

As Heinrich pointed out, you don't sign your restorations. I don't think 
all that many people know that most of the restorations they've seen are 
by you.

>> Say someone else is doing their dinosaurs in the same pose, but
>> are doing a very bad job of it with sloppy rendering and inaccurate
>> proportions and so on. This can confuse viwers and adversely impact 
>> the reputation
>> and value of the original artist's body of work.

Only if they assume that everything in that pose is by you. You have not 
yet shown us evidence for this assumption.