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Illustration/photo copyright question relating to collage

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If I took a photo that someone else had taken of, say, a famous building and then fiddled around with it in Photoshop, is it still copyright to the original photographer?

I'm guessing that if I completely redid it, it's no longer an issue, but where is the line drawn? I love cutting bits out of catalogues (Boden and The Land of Nod are my favourites!) and using them as clothes/backgrounds/objects and so on... but I'm wondering if what I'm doing would be considered theft?!
#1 - November 26, 2010, 05:09 PM

is kooky.
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It's copyrighted. You can't even paint a picture from someone else's photo if it's in any way recognizable (referencing the Hope poster/AP flap a couple years ago).
#2 - November 26, 2010, 06:32 PM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

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Thanks, Aimee, I remember that, but that hasn't been resolved yet, I don't think? Plus it's a fairly obvious usage. What I'm doing is, for example, cutting up a bedspread pattern and creating a skirt out of it (on a picture, obviously, not for me to wear!). I'm not sure whether that's allowed or not.

But maybe I'm just better off painting similar patterns and using those to cut out. Better safe than sorry, eh.
#3 - November 27, 2010, 11:38 AM

is kooky.
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If you're looking for things to slice and dice for collage, there's a ton of fair use art and photos on the net, you just have to dig around. I know if you use copyrighted material in a commercial endeavor, you're asking for a headache...I learned the hard way trying to make a poster from a fab photo I took in NYC that had a police car in it and the "NYPD" logo was showing. Their lawyer sent me threat mail.

*Who knew they copyrighted that stuff??? Not this girl.*

 :goodluck
#4 - November 27, 2010, 12:30 PM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

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If you're looking for things to slice and dice for collage, there's a ton of fair use art and photos on the net, you just have to dig around. I know if you use copyrighted material in a commercial endeavor, you're asking for a headache...I learned the hard way trying to make a poster from a fab photo I took in NYC that had a police car in it and the "NYPD" logo was showing. Their lawyer sent me threat mail.

*Who knew they copyrighted that stuff??? Not this girl.*

 :goodluck
Just because a lawyer ( I'm married to one) sends a threatening letter does not mean the copyright is infringed- they are really saying "do you have the money to fight me in court and argue this to a judge- because we do!"  ( i.e.- this is not my husbands practice- he usually is on the otherside)
I know the federal government does not hold copyright to any of their  "places"- i.e. buildings, national parks etc.
There are two copyright issues- here in the thread- using photographs someone else has taken- and using an image of priviate property- which can be dealt with by a property release- fabric- is  actually copyrighted by quantiy- but if the design  on the fabric is distinct it can be copyrighted= I deal with that by getting written permission from the fabric companies which they have been happy to give.
#5 - November 28, 2010, 06:40 AM

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It all sounds complicated to me and I think unless I HAVE to, I'll just avoid the issue, by painting my own patterns. I like an easy life, without too much legal stuff. I have plenty of that type of thing going on in relation to visas etc, does my head in!
#6 - November 28, 2010, 12:39 PM

ladylind

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I’ve been collecting some research about using designed paper for collage work.  I have put it together below for your perusal.  It’s a bit long, but I figured the more detail the better; not everyone had the same answer. 

I communicated with published collage author/illustrator Lindsay ward, http://respectthecupcake.blogspot.com/ , five paper companies, and istock photo.  I have included my questions and their responses below. 

My question to Lindsay Ward was:

How do copyright laws apply to patterns on paper?

- I don't use copyrighted patterns in my work, this is something you have to be really careful with when using cut paper.  Any paper I use that has a pattern on it, I either create it myself or make sure it is out of 75 years of copyright.  I use a lot of my own stamps to create different patterns on the paper I use.

-If you want to use something that is copyrighted you would have to ask the company or designer who created it, which will usually cost you money, sometimes a lot of money.  Or they will chose not to let you use it at all.  I generally just stay away from anything that is copyrighted.


The paper companies all said about the same thing.

Designs can not be used if they will be reproduced by machine.  Some could be used in original artwork that wasn't reproduced.  Some of the companies had different options for artists.  Here's an example of that:

http://www.eksuccessbrands.com/aboutus/guidelines.htm

My question to the paper companies:

I am writing to inquire about receiving copyright permission to use your papers as backgrounds or accents in my illustrations.

We are a reseller of papers and do not own the copyrights.
 
Most of the manufacturers are in Japan, Italy and India and are very prioritary about their designs and will not allow their papers to be used in publications. We cannot get involved in this issue but we do know of one customer who was sued by the manufacturer for copyright infringement.
 
Sincerely,
 
The Paper Studio
480-557-5700
www.paperstudio.com


Unfortunately that is against our policy.  It has to be all original
product, and we do not sell digitals at this time.  That sounds like fun
though!

Best of luck!

Maegan Madill


Thank your for your email. You can make products using our papers, as long as no machine replication is used. This policy applies to all of our papers. Unfortunately we would not be able to give permission to use our papers in your projects.
 
If you have any further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. Your time and business is appreciated.
 
Sincerely,
 
Casey Taylor
Customer Service
http://shop.hobbylobby.com
1-800-888-0321


The other option is a place like www.istockphoto.com.  They have designs that you can
purchase and there are no additional royalties.  There are two different copyright
purchase options.  The less expensive, you can use the image if it is not integral to
the story.  The more expensive version can be used.

My question to istock photo:

I am a children's book illustrator.  Can you give me details on licensing for books?  The details specify that up to 499,999 impressions for books are covered by the standard license, but that resale items are not covered.  Is a book not considered a resale item?

Thanks you


Melissa,

Thank you for your follow-up.

With backgrounds, papers, textures etc. you should be fine with our Standard License up to 500,000 reproductions of the image.

With animals it becomes a little more complicated, especially if they were to represent characters within the story, or another key aspect of illustrating the story.  If you plan to use an image as a key part of the illustration, such as a character, an Extended License may be required.

So that’s what I know for know.  Hope it helps.
#7 - January 19, 2011, 09:03 AM

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wow- thanks ladylind- that took a lot of work and is very helpful- indeed!!
I tend to use solids or actually when I need a pattern- I use batiks- or marblized textures- because how can you copyrifght uncontrolled swirls and squiggles!!! and making your own is fun-kids can get involved.
#8 - January 22, 2011, 12:43 PM

ladylind

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Totally.  Batik is so fun!

I realized that all of the stuff I had been admiring (and copywritten) was likely designed in photoshop.  So I've been scanning in paper textures and then doing ink sketches on top of them.  Now the trouble is where to stop.  I can put it in every possible shade in the universe and rotate it to infinity.  Ah so fun!  How do we get away with doing this as work? 
#9 - January 27, 2011, 06:36 PM

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