So, what artwork can or can't I sell because of copyrights?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DustinLC, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    Never sold any of my artwork before but some day I need to or I won't have a house to live in [​IMG].

    Through the years, I painted almost everything. There's nothing easier to paint than something original like a superhero you created or a scene or animal you took a picture of but the fun comes in when you do movie characters, celebrities, Disney cartoons, a copy of a famous painting, ect. All in fun as a hobby of course and those are the kind of work that always get people's attention.

    People heard of Thomas Kinkade. You know that guy who paints colorful cottages and gardens and sells his canvas prints for the price of a house. It's strange that I see artist copy his artpiece to the exact and sell it. Yeah, you'll see it in every mall! I would think that you can't do that.

    I myself have some original Thomas Kinkade in my house [​IMG] but I won't sell those. I don't think you're suppose to.

    However, what about?

    Celebrities or their likeness?
    Marvel or DC characters?
    Disney characters?
    Movie characters like Lord of the Rings?

    As for famous paintings like Monet, I believe those copyrights expired and that's why you see copies everywhere.
     
  2. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I am not a lawyer, but I am in the art field and here is my impression:

    -A celeb's (Movie, Sports, TV, etc.) image is not copyrightable, so I can't see any illegal reason for selling a painting. i.e. Look at the paparazzi who sell photographs to the Enquirer.

    -As far as Disney. They DO have copyrights on all of their characters. Not even Disney artist can do certain things with the characters (i.e. Mickey Mouse can't be see with a cigarette).

    -I'm sure the same thing goes with Super Heros. Their 'images' are copyrighted.

    -Not sure about LOTR, but I would probably say that's off limits too.

    p.s. As far as the celebs, I'm sure the actual people are ok, but it's probably not good to sell the characters they play (i.e. Michael Richards would be ok, but not him as Cosmo Kramer)
     
  3. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Unfortunately that's not necessarily correct. The issue comes down to the use. If the use is commercial, then people legally must consent to the use of their likeness. If the image is used for editorial purposes (i.e. news) - that's a different story. While the paparazzi is compensated for taking the picture - the ultimate use of that picture is, arguably, for news. This falls under the "work-for-hire" laws, which basically say that the Enquirer is the owner of the image.

    I'm a photographer - so this issue hits home very closely. You also have to be concerned about recognizable buildings, etc. Legally speaking, the owners of the Empire State Building would have a claim against me if I made money selling pictures where the primary subject was the building.
     
  4. Jacinto

    Jacinto Second Unit

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    There was an artist a few years back that was sued by Paramount for selling Star Trek artwork that he had done, but it was only because he had limited edition prints of his paintings made and was selling those for money. AFAIK, you can draw/paint and sell just about whatever you want (avoiding any defamation) as long we are talking about originals, but unauthorized reproduction of said artwork will get you in trouble every time.
     
  5. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    OK.............

    It's good to know so that in the future, any paintings will be done with that in mind. Although the intention is never to sell, who knows where I would be in 10-30yrs.

    I guess I have to take conversation like this:

    " Who's that?"

    "It's the Indestructible Powerman. Check out the P on his chest."

    "Oh...."

    over:

    "Wow Superman! Way cool!"

    "Thanks" [​IMG]

    OK so if I ever choose to have a website one day with no intention to sell, everything is fair game right? Maybe not Disney. These guys play hardball.
     
  6. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    Another situation just occurred to me.

    I noticed that in many art books by the artists, there are certainly familiar places or characters. This is especially true of fantasy artists. Perhaps it's different if you sell a painting as oppose to have the painting in a collection to display your art? Perhaps they have permission for every single piece?

    There are certain characters that I don't think have copyrights such as fairy tales that long existed before Disney. I can think of two for now: Snow White and Cinderella. If I do Snow White character just like that of Disney, that would be a different story I guess.

    Maybe there's a database to check what is and what is not copyrighted?
     
  7. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    I'd stay away from the comics/movie/disney stuff.

    If you're just giving it away, no problem. But if you make some cash off the painting, the owner of that property will have to be rewarded.
     
  8. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > I myself have some original Thomas Kinkade in my house but I won't sell those. I don't think you're suppose to.

    Huh? You can certainly sell an original painting. Why do you think you can't?


    > There are certain characters that I don't think have copyrights such as fairy tales that long existed before Disney. I can think of two for now: Snow White and Cinderella. If I do Snow White character just like that of Disney, that would be a different story I guess.

    Sure, you can do generic versions of those, but not ones that look like the Disney versions.
     
  9. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    I was joking Chris. It's not an original Kinkade but an imitation by me and everyone who visit me and see it over my fireplace think I'm rich [​IMG].
     

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