Photos and Art

What is copyright?

This week our class discussed copyright and the different forms it can take. I found the class very informative and was pleased to learn of creative commons licenses. These licenses allow for you to hold some rights over your work, while allowing others to use it. You still own the work and you can choose a license which reflects your wishes. If you want to allow people to use the work for only non-commercial uses there is a license for that specifically.

This website has a detailed explanation as well as helping you find a license which matches your needs,

(It also has a search connected to creative commons works on various platforms)

In my everyday life I come across copyright when painting, often I use photos for reference. My understanding of this is that copying a photo into a painting would be copyright infringement (and I would not feel comfortable doing that regardless). But looking at a picture of a building for perspective, and then drawing using that knowledge may not infringe. Again provided you are not recreating the photograph.

This is a distinction that is difficult to sort through, in this copyright guide whether or not something is a “Substantial” determines whether or not you are infringing. And yet that line is not explicitly clear, it likely depends on the context of the image.

This last site is a source of free photos specifically for artists and teachers to use.

I do often paint directly from an image, but only images I have taken myself.

The photo and painting in this post are both my own. Since I have often been nervous about copying an image, or following it too closely, I use photos I have taken for inspiration.

Now that I have a better understanding of what different forms of copyright mean and the sources above to find images I may branch out more often.





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