Copyright and all that

There have been a number of questions come up recently about copying from photographs, and pictures on calendars and in magazines. Basically, the copyright in any picture is owned by the person who did the original, whether it is a painting or a photograph. So if you copy that work and pass it off as your own, you are infringing their copyright, and the author can legitimately ask for damages. Fine if it is for  practice and  your own learning, but if you exhibit or try to sell the work you are asking for trouble. That is why TAS and most art societies ask artists to sign a disclaimer, when entering their pictures for exhibitions. Best practice, if you want to copy a photograph, and turn it into a painting, is to ask permission of the original author, and then say ‘from a photograph by Joe Bloggs’ after the title.
You can read a lot more on this on the SAA website under 'Member Support'. The Gloucestershire Society of Artists also has a short piece on their web site at I will be doing a fuller handout on this, and covering the topic briefly, in the 2011 programme when I talk to you about 'Pricing & Selling your Paintings' The probable date for this talk is May 24th 2011.
Peter Cripps

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