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Is an artist's face copyrighted?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Might seem like a strange question...but let's say one is thinking of coming up with a book using quotes from various inspirational artists completed with own artwork of their faces (not copied from photogrpahs, of course...) would that be okay with the copyrights. Would a permission be needed?
post #2 of 14
Originally Posted by Lilycurly
Might seem like a strange question...but let's say one is thinking of coming up with a book using quotes from various inspirational artists completed with own artwork of their faces (not copied from photogrpahs, of course...) would that be okay with the copyrights. Would a permission be needed?
I assume that you are getting their written permission to use their images and quotes?!

As with any person's image (face) permission is required! I'll try to find my copyright reference link for you!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...what I meant was....famous artists, like say, I like Tori Amos, so I get a few quotes she said from websites, interviews and such, then I make a watercolor depicting her playing the piano or the likes...would that need a copyright too?
post #4 of 14
As far as I know, there are no copyright laws regarding that, but I think it would depend on if you plan to have this book published - that might cause some trouble!

I would still check out about copyright of the quotes and things too, as if you are taking them from books etc it might be a little on the risky side, unless you cite them at the end of the book!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well yes, I was planning on you say that would not be okay? I would be using quotes, not from books but from interviews, magasines, etc...)
post #6 of 14
I don't believe that their actual face is copyrighted. You can do a painting of their face, and that would be your own original work, not theirs. If you based the painting on a photograph, so you just do a direct copy of someone's photo, that might cause some problem, so I would suggest that you invent your own composition.

But the quotes are copyrighted. You are not allowed to take quotes from anywhere without permission. Just because something is on a website doesn't mean its free for you to use.
post #7 of 14
Even magazines, websites and any other written or transcripted material needs to be cited (especially if you want to cover your back!)

It is a difficult one about their faces The thing is, you never know if these famous people will have a problem with their use of image (some are very petty) and you may open yourself up for trouble!

However, as it is your own work it could be stepped asside! If I were you, I would speak to your prospective publisher and also to a solicitor (a primary consultation may be free) and find out what they say!

is the work going to be realist and/or copied from a published photograph?
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
So maybe I could forget the quotes...but the pictures, no they would NOT be copied, I would make sure they are really different from existing material while trying to capture the artist's look. It would have kind of a stylised quality to it, not a simple portrait, but trying to capture the spirit of the person...
Someone said to me that if papparazzies could do it why couldn't I?
post #9 of 14
I would say that partly it depends on the jurisidiction you're in as to whether that legal system protects image in addition to copyright - some do, the UK doesn't. If "image" is protected then just using the artist's face may cause a problem.

With your drawings/paintings - if they are taken from sittings the artist has done for you (unlikely from what you have said), photographs that you have taken or actual sightings of the individual that should not pose a problem. However, as soon as you start using already published material as a basis you could face problems for copying or adapting the work of another (a photograph or drawing for example).

The reason that paparazzi can make money from what they do (assuming we are not talking about a jurisdiction that protects privacy or image) is that they are taking photographs and are therefore creating the original work - they are not making a photograph (or drawing) of another person's photograph.

Any quotations taken from any published work should cite the source from which they were taken.
post #10 of 14
You said it a lot better, Beth, than I attempted to!
post #11 of 14
Even if you cite sources, you need permission to re-publish in your own book. There are strict rules governing this sort of thing, and that includes using sources that are cited properely as well. I used to work for a university department, preparing an instruction manual for student labs. And for every quote, which absolutely had to have the correct source cited, we also had to ask permission for use.

As for the image, I do not believe that a person can copyright their face. But the depiction of that face (like a photo) is definitely the property of the person making that image - be in a photo, or a painting.

It sounds like you have the right approach, "inventing" your own image based on the person's characteristics. As long as nobody can say that you used their photo as the basis of your painting, you should be fine.
post #12 of 14
you shouldnt have a problem unless you use their image to tell something, like if you use a drawing of tom cruise and put it on a book, then someone buys the book because he are on the book he could say you are using his "image" to make money. It doesnt matter if you use a picture or your own drawing. when it comes to famous people using an image of them could be an issue. I would check more, but to make life easier, i would just ask permission if you were planning on selling them.
post #13 of 14
ACtually, the issue w/ papparazzi is that if it's a "public figure" in a "public place", and you get a shot of them, it's legal, it's yours, and you can sell it. If you're shooting Kid Rock in a concert, then fine, it's your shot to use. If you've hired a helicopter and are shooting Britney Spears with her new baby in their own back yard, no, it's not legal. Basically, if it's someone you can recogzine from the media, and it's in a public place, you're good to go (if you take the shot yourself), but if all that is not met, then no, you can't use it.

As for the written word, if someone else has published it (and yes, on a webbie is publishing in this regard), then you need written releases from the author, the publication, and the interviewee before you can be safe.

If you took one of my photos, and painted something from it, you bet I'd be angry; it might be a judgment call in a courtroom if you based your painting on my photography without my permission, because my photo has releases, is my own creativity, and my own post processing; you're simply altering the final output.

However, if you have a shot from which you create an entirely NEW piece, then it's yours. It's a terribly fine line, and the courts tend to side on the original artist's work as a protection for future law...but I've heard about cases going both ways.

Good luck - it's an interesting and really creative idea...but get your legal ducks in a row before you move into the creative vein, because that's what can hang you up faster than a noose.

(And BTW, what I've stated is only for the United States...)

post #14 of 14
This is very interesting to me, because I work with visual artists, and I am aware of the international laws pertaining to use of images. Copyright law is international.

I did a quick google search, and I think that some people are talking about privacy and publicity laws, which are, technically, not copyright. They are not governed by international law. But there are also laws governing your use of another person's image. That's why a photographer needs to have a signed release before publishing a photo of you in a newspaper (for example), that's to do with privacy laws. The photographer owns the copyright to the actual photo image, but you are protected by privacy laws that restrict what he can do with that photo.

And famous people have the right to benefit from their fame, hence publicity laws. They have "worked" (some harder than others) to make their face and image notable, and if you do a painting of them, for sale, you are benefitting from that work, and are infringing on their right to benefit from publicity.

It's sort of explained here.
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