Copywrite Infingement or Artists Interpretation? (Opinions?)

Submitted by marty on 01/23/2004. ( )

Not Taxidermy, but Art (no offense btw!).

Just curious, what do you folks think about this.

I wish to create a wall mural based off of another Artists (copywrited) photograph. Since it's not a direct copy, but my interpretation of another persons work (eg: music sampling comes to mind, not to mention it's a whole 'nother medium.) Is this acceptable? And if so - to what length?

In otherwords, If I wish to market my ability to paint murals, could I use the subject mural as an example? Would I need to give the other artist credit? (eg. Mural influenced by the photography of Joe Smoe). Do I need his permission? Or can I NOT do it legally at all?

This is considerably different than the situation in the archives where forms were made copying other forms. In my opinion this falls into that gray area subject to interpretation. (Btw, the photo is a photo taken in a public place. I could go out and take a pic myself, but it wouldn't be as good)

Anybody with similar experiences? Opinions?

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This response submitted by Raven on 01/23/2004. ( )

This is the kind of thing lawyers have fun with as it's all about interpretation. If you can tell its based on anothers work - it can be considered violation.. however the fact that it's a photo of a public place may over ride that. If the lawyer wants they can argue that the 'art' part of it comes from teh lens the photographer chose to use, the angler from which he shot, the time of day he chose to get just the right lighting etc. I think it would come down to the judges decision and therefore - even the paid for opinion of lawyer woudlnt matter. If all you are doing is using it as inspiration to paint murals.. whyc hance it? Go take your own photo and even if as you say, it's not as good.. who cares? Yer not selling the photo - it's just the reference for the painting, so when you paint it - just paiunt it better than that photo indicates.

Now even if it's of a public place - there can be issues there... are there any buildings or homes that can be identified as belonging to a certain someone? This is why in some movie or TV show shot on location if you pay close attention you can see street signs blurred out. Or in a crowd of people you'll sometimes see peoples faced blurred out. Sure they were in public - but they still ahve the right to privacy and they didn't give their consent to be shown on TV... kinda weird eh? Was it Barbara Streisand recently tried suing becasue someone took an aerial photograph of the shoreline showing environmental conditions, and her house was identifiable in it - so she sued. It took a while for the case to be settled but in the end she lost. It all came down to the judges decision tho as the laws are very unclear in those circumstances. Do you want to chance it on something that comes down to the deicison of the judge?

"Not Taxidermy, but Art (no offense btw!)."

This response submitted by Cecil Baird ( ) on 01/23/2004. ( )

Marty, why are you worried of being blasted? You have the same rights as everyone else on here to post something. It never stopped me. LOL

It bothers me that people have to worry about being slammed because someone else does not think it relates to taxidermy. That's sad.

Many do not consider....

This response submitted by marty on 01/23/2004. ( )

...Photography as Art either btw.

Cecil, I just made the distinction (not taxidermy) right off the bat as I did not want somebody to peruse my post and possibly miss that point. It changes the whole meaning of the post and possible replies.

And while we're at it, me reproducing a photograph larger on a wall really isn't Art either. (Although, I'd argue THAT if it ever made it to court - lol!)

Me worried about being blasted, c'mon Cecil you know me better than that! Besides, that argument (Is Taxidermy Art?) is well covered in the archives. (Although the archives may be busting at their seams with all your political posts! Probably take a half -hour to access them! :) )

Glad to hear you are not intimidated

This response submitted by Cecil Baird ( ) on 01/23/2004. ( )

But I have seen many on here that are. At least there are two of us that aren't. :)

Good question Marty!

This response submitted by Mr. KIM on 01/23/2004. ( )


why not take the "idea", add your touches and personalize it YOUR way?
Make it original with different twists here and there.

Thats how you do it. But just to "copy" it would be a NO-NO. And in the ART world, you will be or should I say "outcast" for various reasons such as LACK OF ORIGINALITY, among others.

Hope this helps,


Taking the art out of "creartivity"

This response submitted by * on 01/23/2004. ( )

Isnt this all sad how we fear being creative.

Marty, go paint the wall, lm sure if its private, the owner will be happy, if its public others will complain for all the other reasons, and if its to market your abilities, it sounds like its one of those love jobs which you wont get paid for anyway.
If the photographer objects, you will be served a notice, so go and re-paint it black ,and let the public ask "why".
This then be your artistic statement of todays society one that you will get a far closer review over, and cause people to ask the question, where is the beauty gone?.
Better than cutting your ear off!
l fear the day that every natural gift that god has given us for EVERYONE to enjoy will be copyrighted from public view, simply because someone photographed it.

Contact the Artist

This response submitted by Paul I on 01/23/2004. ( )

Why not just avoid the trouble and contact the artist and ask permission if you have your heart set on doing this.You never know he might be happy that you want paint his work.The worst case would be for him to say no and then you where you stand without getting into legal hassles.Also would like to see your paintings if you have any links to go see them.

Take your own photo

This response submitted by Vicki Chritton-Myers on 01/23/2004. ( )

If it doesn't turn out as well as his, just use his as a reference for the areas of detail, etc., that didn't show up in yours. Or take several photos, some closeups, etc. Then you won't have to worry about copyright infringement, and can truly say, "I did this myself."

* Who are you?

This response submitted by marty on 01/23/2004. ( )

I recognize your style of writing, but I can't place a name. Very interesting perspective.

The photo in question is a beautiful black and white in the wintertime of a stream with surrounding woods with snow and ice just in the right places. It would be tough to replicate. I can NEVER get good black and whites with the high white/black contrasting. My pictures always turn out gray and lack the vibrant contrasts this artist can get. (I suck!) I believe they're actually b/w infrared photos.

Paul, I was leaning towards contacting the artist. You know, maybe offer to give him credit and provide a link on my taxi website, so I can push all that business his way when I become famous (lol!)

If he says no, then I guess I'll have to get my lazy butt out there and snap a few rolls of film - er I mean burn a few pics on my digital camera. I guess I could always adjust things when I paint it.

Btw, I have yet to do any murals. But I will. I just need to work out that little problem I have with heights!

I appreciate all your answers and I will check back to see if anybody else offers a different perspective.

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