Monday 18 March 2013

Copyright Laws

  With the introduction of the world wide web expanded what people could view. You can now search whatever you want in an instant. Pictures, videos, comments, essays, how-tos– all brought to you in less than a second. With that, however, came the headache of copyright laws.

  Don't get me wrong, copyright laws existed long before the internet did, but with the internet, it became much more difficult to have control over your ideas, creative products, and art works. I search the internet a lot. I do something called "site-hopping". I search for one thing on google, click on the first few links, then from those pages I go to other sites. That's how I get to know more artists. Somedays, I come across lots of brilliant art works, other days I'm not really inspired.

  Just yesterday, as I was site-hopping, I found out two artists saying that they've had people steal their art.  The first was a pencil artist. Someone had stolen her identity and was selling unlicensed prints of her work. The other was a photographer and complained that artists were using her photographs as reference for the drawings. They were both very upset.

  But it's the internet. You don't have 100% control over who does what with your work. If you put it up online, it's fair game, right? WRONG.

  Copyright laws cover lots of things, that includes photographs. You can't just be like, "You know what? I'm going to draw a horse today." and go online, find a picture of a horse and draw it. You could draw it for practice, sure. But you should not sell it. You might get sued if the photographer finds out that you drew using their photo.

  But sometimes, we just want an easy way out. Why set up your own still life to draw from when you have this beautiful still life photo found on Google right in front of you? Well, artists take time to finish their works of Art. Photographers are artists too. How would you feel if someone drew an identical painting of one of your art pieces. I'll be flattered, sure. But it's my art piece. I took time to compose it, to pick a colour palette for it, to decide how I was going to execute it.

   Can I make a painting from a photograph? Short answer, no. Not 100% of it. If you used less than 10%, then you'll be alright. (Say, for example, you used the hand of a picture of a model.) The photographer still owns the rights of his photograph.

  For an excellent overview of how copyright works for artists, follow this link:

  It's not really worth it if you pour your heart and soul into a drawing/painting then having the owner of the photograph you drew from sue you for copyright infringement. There are many resources of free images that artists can use legally. For a list of them, click this link:

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