Copyright - Use of Images To Create Artwork
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Posted by John F. Humen on January 31, 2000 at 22:55:30:
I hope it's all right if I contact you directly with some questions
about copyright law. You seem to be knowledgeable in this area judging
from your responses on the "intelpro.com" list server.
If you do not want to provide any insight please don't bother.
Question #1. Among other things I create original artwork in various
media. Mostly I work with pencil, charcoal and watercolor. Over time I
have developed a working method that includes the use of copyrighted
photographs as more or less a "base" to work from. I certainly am not in
the business of COPYING anything, but will use the material as a basic
reference point and then add my own artistic value and interpretation.
What I come up with can, at times, be recognizable if compared to the
original copyrighted work.
The question is, am I infringing on anyone's copyright in this area? I
was always under the impression that if Andy Warhol or Leroy Neiman can
do it, so can I. It's just that lately I've sold a bunch of stuff and
stand to sell a lot more and more as time goes on.
Question #2. Suppose the same artist (me!) decided to create a series of
originals based on celebrity images. Some really popular names out
there: Elvis! Princess Diana! You get the picture. I understand that
ripping off patented "characters" such as Barney or a Disney character
is off limits, as well it should be; but I'm just talking celebrities.
The question then becomes, am I free to make and sell an original work
of art depicting the image of a celebrity?
Thanks for your help in advance.
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