BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Courtenay Vanderbilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2008

Copyright and Fair Use, scary!

I have recently run across information about a sculptor suing a photographer for his commercial use of a portion of the sculpture. Just a simple "heads-up" to our members regarding what they shoot and how they use their images.

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3/18/2010 5:59:59 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  It's a picture of a small part of the sculpture, but it's still mainly a picture of the sculpture with somebody's feet in the frame. And it's enough to make it recognizable if you previously knew of the sculpture. Like Mona Lisa's eyes.
Somebody brought up a good point about how art in a public area could limit other or infringe on other people's rights of expressions.
And two other good points were made. Somebody brought up a good point about a war memorial sculpture made from a photo, and any other photos of said memorial. And somebody quoted a Canadian copyright law that it's not infringement to reproduce by photo, painting, drawing... a sculpture, art work... that's permanently place in public.
Architects, who approach designing a building like sculptors approach clay and marble, will they be motivated?
Copyrighting a photo isn't copyrighting an idea. So if a photo is on a billboard, is a photo of the billboard copyright infringement? Lots of questions come to mind.

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3/18/2010 3:36:39 PM

Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  How is taking a photo of someone else's "art" any different than using a photographer's photos without permission? I can understand it with the a statue is just a portion of the composition, especially in public places (Washington D.C.), but when the main subject of the photo is a statue that someone else created, it's getting close to crossing an invisible line of who was creative, the photographer or the original artist. It's almost plagerism.

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3/19/2010 8:33:00 AM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Being a woman, I'm coming at it from an emotional point of view..If I were a sculptor and somebody took a photo of the sculpture, I'd probably be flattered, not mad...Now if they were to make a sculpture exactly like mine, that might make a difference..I get people all the time that want to make a painting of one of my shots. I usually let them do it..but I guess if I did it for a living, I might feel differently...or maybe not.

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3/19/2010 11:35:26 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Well, to use a photo is comparable to using the sculpture. Or maybe even using a mold, or cast. Even though you can't quickly duplicate a marble sculpture the way you can a photo from a negative or digital file, that's the difference in the medium, and it's the image that is yours that results in the photo in your hand.
And bringing up plagiarism, another point made in the discussion was about what if you found a dance instruction book that had the exact same step diagram as what the dance sculpture had? Is that infringement on the dance instruction book? Or, even if it isn't the exact same steps diagrammed, it's still the same shoe prints and arrows.

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3/19/2010 3:55:36 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I'm one who believes that if it's's fair game.
(As far as I know, God does not have a legal team.)

These days, photographing ANYTHING man-made for profit without prior consent is an open door to a law suit.

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3/19/2010 4:27:32 PM

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