Question by schlum l: What are the laws concerning creating a painting / work of art from an already published photograph?
If an artist were to do a painting of a well known photograph, would he get into any legal copyright trouble trying to sell his representation of that image?
Answer by SB22
Oh yeah, LOTS of trouble! Even if it was not a well known photographer/photograph! All rights of ANY photograph (even unpublished) belongs to the photographer. It’s their artwork. There are people who do copy photographs in artwork, and some get away with it, but its still illegal to do. Sometimes you can get permission from the Photographer to reproduce their image, but that can get really tedious. It’s sort of like someone asking you to reproduce one of your original paintings, you probably wouldn’t be interested. I have heard of photographers who offer their original photos to artists, there’s usually a release form of some kind. The Artists Magazine has some ad’s in the back of each issue that offer some photo ref’s. There are good Artist Reference books available too, you can check them out at the Library if you don’t want to invest in one, and you can always copy your own photographs.
I had an assignment in College to copy a famous contemporary painting. But we were given strict guidelines as to what we could do with it afterwards, I sold it at some cheesy art sale at the University, but I had to give credit to the original artist and had to clearly disclose that it was a COPY of HIS work. But that was several years ago, I don’t think I’d do it again, there was just too much gray area to worry about. I also copied a drawing years ago, just for practice, it came out so good, but I can’t do anything with it (other then hang it in my own home) I can’t sell it, reproduce it, show it or even give it away, because it was of someone else’s work.
There are ways of sneaking around it, but it’s not worth it.
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