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Re: [1listSculpting] Source material and concept art for inspiration

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  • Gary Robb
    Drivethru RPG - http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php or RPGNow - http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php Find the publisher listing for LPJ Design and check out
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2008
      Drivethru RPG - http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php

      or

      RPGNow - http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php

      Find the publisher listing for LPJ Design and check out their "Image Portfolio" products. These are PDFs of artwork meant for RPGs. Purchasing the PDF also purchases a license to use the artwork therein in your own published product. I don't know if the license extends to sculpts/minis but LPJ are fairly easy going and would probably be cool with it. My guess is they'd actually be rather hip to the idea of having sculpts/minis of their portfolio characters but its probably best to ask first, just in case.

      Just my two bits.

      Gary (aka Sykoholic)
      www.madlabkreations.com

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: cc_geo
      To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:38 AM
      Subject: [1listSculpting] Source material and concept art for inspiration


      After a long break from sculpting I am trying to find time to start
      again. My problem is that I'm not that great at drawing, so does
      anyone know of a good source of concept art, that doesn't have any
      copyright restrictions?
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    • dark_seed66
      ... Unless published copyright free, and there are stock photo sites that go that route, copyright is guaranteed at conception. The caveat here is that there
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 1, 2008
        --- In 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com, "cc_geo" <chrisdcard@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > After a long break from sculpting I am trying to find time to start
        > again. My problem is that I'm not that great at drawing, so does
        > anyone know of a good source of concept art, that doesn't have any
        > copyright restrictions?
        >

        Unless published copyright free, and there are stock photo sites that
        go that route, copyright is guaranteed at conception. The caveat
        here
        is that there is much work published with a creative commons license,
        that is the author allows certain restricted use of the image, and
        copyright law allows fair use (for derivative works) on any image or
        work. In
        either case the final work has to be significantly different than the
        original. A copy just won't do.

        If you don't want to try to draw that line, seek out work that has
        entered public domain. Things like early photos, old master
        sketchbooks, and bits like that. While you are at it, pick up a
        basic
        sketchbook and limber up your own drawing skills, and snag an
        inexpensive figure drawing mannikin. If you are sculpting, you don't
        have to draw like Ingres to get benefit out of the process. Quick
        gestural sketches will prove invaluable.

        Andrew
      • foxcymru
        Hi, Everyone is afraid of Copyright but there is really very little to worry about when not producing anything for a commercial purpose. If you don t intend
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 3, 2008
          Hi,

          Everyone is afraid of 'Copyright' but there is really very little to
          worry about when not producing anything for a commercial purpose.

          If you don't intend selling the sculpts there should be no problems.

          Even if you do there has to be a clear, reproduction of the original.

          In the last few decades copyright has become policed by lawyers and
          legal costs are the biggest punishment. Many 'creators' of work of
          dubious originality rattle sabres and threaten legal action. Pure and
          simple bullying.

          To give an extreme example there is a producer of an item in the US
          who has derived a product from a UK produced original, which in itself
          was derivitive, who claims copyright. To add insult to injury the
          original creator of the design has 'lost' his right to royalties due
          to legal technicalities.

          There is a sensible way of looking at this. If the item that you are
          producing is being sold it is likely that the originator may get
          upset, and threaten legal action. In the USA they have to defend their
          copyright or lose it - the big example of copyright loss is Kleenex,
          who failed to act to stop others using their name as a generic term
          for tissue.

          In the UK failure to defend is not so problematic. 'Hoover' is a
          generic term for vacuum cleaner but could never be used by another
          manufacturer.

          In reality if you are sculpting for your own pleasure copying is
          normal. If you are sculpting for profit, if you need to think about
          asking the question 'should I be doing this' the safest courses are
          either to get the originator's pernmission in writing or spend a small
          fortune on specialist legal advice rather than a large fortune on
          legal defence costs.

          If you just spend a few hours serfing the websites of miniature
          producers you will see many 'derivative' sculpts with very similar
          names to the originals. My own favourite supplier has 'characatures'
          with different names of very well known fictional characters. Visits
          to their new additions are accompanied by comments of 'it's so and so'.

          In business these days many people threaten legal action without any
          real idea of their rights. They base their threats on 'what everyone
          knows', without any real knowledge of law. In my own personal
          experience many of these threats are as bogus as 'Nigerian emails'. We
          have been threatened with legal action by bogus solicitors, email
          threats of criminal action and people just having a bad day and
          wishing to take out their frustrations on someone else. None of the
          claims were legitimate and none were taken further than 'sabre rattling'.

          All the best,

          Jon




          --- In 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com, "cc_geo" <chrisdcard@...> wrote:
          >
          > After a long break from sculpting I am trying to find time to start
          > again. My problem is that I'm not that great at drawing, so does
          > anyone know of a good source of concept art, that doesn't have any
          > copyright restrictions?
          >
        • Jason Pagura
          Jon, in this section you are conflating copyright with trademark. They are in fact very distinct parts of intellectual property law. Please refer to
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 5, 2008
            Jon, in this section you are conflating copyright with trademark. They
            are in fact very distinct parts of intellectual property law.

            Please refer to <www.uspto.gov> and <www.copyright.gov> for more
            information regarding US trademark, patent, and copyright.


            ______________________________________________________________________
            > 1a. Re: Source material and concept art for inspiration
            > Posted by: "foxcymru" j.d.skrine@... foxcymru
            > Date: Sun Aug 3, 2008 3:29 am ((PDT))
            >
            > Hi,
            >
            > Everyone is afraid of 'Copyright' but there is really very little to
            > worry about when not producing anything for a commercial purpose.
            >
            > [...]
            > There is a sensible way of looking at this. If the item that you are
            > producing is being sold it is likely that the originator may get
            > upset, and threaten legal action. In the USA they have to defend their
            > copyright or lose it - the big example of copyright loss is Kleenex,
            > who failed to act to stop others using their name as a generic term
            > for tissue.
            >
            > In the UK failure to defend is not so problematic. 'Hoover' is a
            > generic term for vacuum cleaner but could never be used by another
            > manufacturer.
            > [...]
            > All the best,
            >
            > Jon
          • foxcymru
            My apologies, I was relying on my American wife s recollection of her business law courses AND oversimplifying. If I may simplify further - In Practice -
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 5, 2008
              My apologies, I was relying on my American wife's recollection of her
              business law courses AND oversimplifying.

              If I may simplify further - In Practice -

              Copying for commercial use can cause problems.

              Copying for personal use shouldn't.

              Even with commercial use, the point where being influenced by another
              item becomes a legally defineable breach of copyright is a very wide
              grey area.

              The extention of copyright law into the art world is one that has
              caused great controversy over the years. I believe that the creation
              of an original sculpt would avoid any problems with copyright unless
              clearly defined portions were either copied fron another item that
              could be proved to be a completely original concept or 'just copied'
              i.e. taking a mould from another item.

              I was originally taught (admittedly in the 70s) that even if I copied
              an original oil painting in oils there was no breach of copyright. If
              I copied it mechanically by photography and print that was a breach.
              Where the line comes between the two is a matter of a Court's opinion
              (and just hope the Judge's hemaroids aren't playing him up on the day
              - lecturer quoted from memory). I believe that the law has been
              extended since then but not as far as many would like to believe.

              Jon

              P.S. I had thought that Kleenex had retained their trademark and only
              lost the use of their name as a generic term for tissue? Since the
              James Dean issue nothing surprises me.........

              --- In 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com, Jason Pagura <jpagura@...> wrote:
              >
              > Jon, in this section you are conflating copyright with trademark. They
              > are in fact very distinct parts of intellectual property law.
              >
              > Please refer to <www.uspto.gov> and <www.copyright.gov> for more
              > information regarding US trademark, patent, and copyright.
              >
              >
              > ______________________________________________________________________
              > > 1a. Re: Source material and concept art for inspiration
              > > Posted by: "foxcymru" j.d.skrine@... foxcymru
              > > Date: Sun Aug 3, 2008 3:29 am ((PDT))
              > >
              > > Hi,
              > >
              > > Everyone is afraid of 'Copyright' but there is really very little to
              > > worry about when not producing anything for a commercial purpose.
              > >
              > > [...]
              > > There is a sensible way of looking at this. If the item that you are
              > > producing is being sold it is likely that the originator may get
              > > upset, and threaten legal action. In the USA they have to defend their
              > > copyright or lose it - the big example of copyright loss is Kleenex,
              > > who failed to act to stop others using their name as a generic term
              > > for tissue.
              > >
              > > In the UK failure to defend is not so problematic. 'Hoover' is a
              > > generic term for vacuum cleaner but could never be used by another
              > > manufacturer.
              > > [...]
              > > All the best,
              > >
              > > Jon
              >
            • Jeff LaMarche
              ... In terms of sculpting, this is probably a safe guideline. Intellectual Property law is one of the most difficult areas of law and one that most lawyers
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 5, 2008
                On Aug 5, 2008, at 6:46 AM, foxcymru wrote:
                > My apologies, I was relying on my American wife's recollection of her
                > business law courses AND oversimplifying.
                >
                > If I may simplify further - In Practice -
                >
                > Copying for commercial use can cause problems.
                >
                > Copying for personal use shouldn't.

                In terms of sculpting, this is probably a safe guideline. Intellectual
                Property law is one of the most difficult areas of law and one that
                most lawyers don't even attempt to practice. It is extraordinarily
                complex, the law is not completely consistent - there are several
                examples where one Federal district has different law than another
                because two different circuit courts have decided something
                differently and the issue has never been accepted for review by the
                Supreme Court.

                A point of clarification on the trademark thing: Kleenex is still a
                perfectly valid trademark, as is Xerox, although both were at risk of
                losing their trademarks through genericization. Some examples of ones
                that lost their protection are "Aspirin", "Zipper", "Escalator", and
                "Linoleum", and "Yo-Yo". Corporations are very aggressive these days
                about making sure this doesn't happen, which is why you see the
                trademark and registered symbols used obsessively on mass produced
                items, Although there are still occasional trademarks that become
                generic (Yellow Cab became generic in 2007), it's a fairly rare
                occurrence because companies are very motivated to keep trademarks
                because Trademarks don't expires. The copyright on several Mickey
                Mouse films, for example, is set to retire (although it never seems to
                happen, the term gets extended every time that's about to happen), but
                Mickey Mouse as a trademark won't ever expire unless it becomes
                generic (unlikely). This makes it very valuable to corporations.

                Conflating trademark and copyright is understandable, because
                corporations intentionally blur the lines between the two... they
                attempt to use (one could say "abuse") trademark law whenever possible
                simply because it doesn't expire and affords greater protection in
                many cases. And while it is possible to infringe a trademark by
                sculpting something, those should be fairly obvious examples in most
                cases. If you sculpt a muscular guy in a skin tight suit with an 'S'
                on his chest, a cape, and a stray lock of hair on his forehead, the
                behemoth that is Warner Bros. will probably come after you if they
                become aware of it and you are selling in more than a tiny quantity.
                This tiny quantity isn't a legal thing, it's merely a cost-benefit
                analysis on their part. They let some stuff (like garage kits) fly
                under the radar because it would cost too much to pursue and isn't
                likely to cause them to lose any rights.

                When it comes to copying copyrighted material, it's really fuzzy, and
                the determination of whether something is infringing is usually a
                question of fact, which means you might be sure something has or
                hasn't infringed and end up getting the opposite result if it goes to
                trial. It's very subjective, which is part of what makes it a hard
                area of law and the reason why a lot of cases settle.

                In the example above, it'd be pretty obvious if you sculpted Superman.
                Everybody knows what he looks like, and you'd probably have to change
                the character a lot to get away with it. Removing the S logo might be
                enough, maybe not, maybe the lock of hair would have to go also. Hard
                to say. A muscular guy in a cape is probably generic enough. Every
                case is unique. If you look through the lines of miniatures from
                companies like Reaper, you can find many examples of where they
                provide a figure similar to a trademarked monster like WoTC's
                Beholder. If they used the word "Beholder", they'd definitely be in
                for trouble, but if they change the name to "Eye Monster" and make
                some subtle changes to appearance, they're probably all right, though
                it's always at least a little bit of a gamble.

                Well, I've rambled enough. My only real advice is avoid giving advice
                on this and don't take risks based on the advice of people who aren't
                lawyers. "Common knowledge" in this area is often wrong, based on
                outdated law, or fails to take into account the vagaries of the law or
                the fickleness of the fact finder. But if you're just sculpting for
                yourself and aren't going to ever sell the piece, you are free to do
                pretty much whatever you want.

                Jeff

                For the record, I am a retired lawyer, but I am not YOUR lawyer and
                this is not intended as legal advice, just a friendly info-dump. :)
              • Daniel Lynn
                Hope my 2 cents is useful here. In order to practice sculpting, I use other people s art a lot. One case I used Blizzard s art (specifically the mage from the
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 5, 2008
                  Hope my 2 cents is useful here. In order to practice sculpting, I use other
                  people's art a lot. One case I used Blizzard's art (specifically the mage
                  from the World of Warcraft box), another I used that of an artist from
                  deviant art, and another from a picture my wife pulled off the web she liked
                  and asked me to sculpt. I think all of these are examples that fit your
                  scenario.



                  The one from Blizzard (or any other company like that who has complete
                  rights to their artwork), I've concluded, is the easiest thing. I emailed
                  them to ask if it was ok to sculpt it and maybe reproduce for a few friends
                  (under 10) with no commercial application, and they said to go ahead. To
                  them, it's a legal question with a clear-cut answer.



                  Artists, if you ask them, are pretty nice about saying you can go ahead and
                  practice with their stuff. The only thing is, it's their hard work that went
                  into it, so to them it's more than a straight-forward legal question, so
                  sometimes they can get hung up on details that aren't relevant.



                  The other I haven't contacted the artist and probably won't because other
                  than maybe putting a picture up for people to critique here, it'll sit on a
                  shelf in my house.



                  So, my recommendation is option 1 or 3. The thing I'd just remember with art
                  is that people work hard on it and there's a real rash of people taking art
                  and posting it on myspace or other places that is a violation of those rules
                  governing intellectual property, but it's not financially viable for the
                  artist to take the legal action to stop it, so that can be really
                  frustrating for the artists. It'll go a long way in making people happy to
                  base your decision on the question of "Am I being a jerk" rather than the
                  question "Is this technically permissible".



                  -Daniel



                  From: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com [mailto:1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com]
                  On Behalf Of foxcymru
                  Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 6:46 AM
                  To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [1listSculpting] Re: Source material and concept art for
                  inspiration



                  My apologies, I was relying on my American wife's recollection of her
                  business law courses AND oversimplifying.

                  If I may simplify further - In Practice -

                  Copying for commercial use can cause problems.

                  Copying for personal use shouldn't.

                  Even with commercial use, the point where being influenced by another
                  item becomes a legally defineable breach of copyright is a very wide
                  grey area.

                  The extention of copyright law into the art world is one that has
                  caused great controversy over the years. I believe that the creation
                  of an original sculpt would avoid any problems with copyright unless
                  clearly defined portions were either copied fron another item that
                  could be proved to be a completely original concept or 'just copied'
                  i.e. taking a mould from another item.

                  I was originally taught (admittedly in the 70s) that even if I copied
                  an original oil painting in oils there was no breach of copyright. If
                  I copied it mechanically by photography and print that was a breach.
                  Where the line comes between the two is a matter of a Court's opinion
                  (and just hope the Judge's hemaroids aren't playing him up on the day
                  - lecturer quoted from memory). I believe that the law has been
                  extended since then but not as far as many would like to believe.

                  Jon

                  P.S. I had thought that Kleenex had retained their trademark and only
                  lost the use of their name as a generic term for tissue? Since the
                  James Dean issue nothing surprises me.........

                  --- In 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
                  <mailto:1listSculpting%40yahoogroups.com> , Jason Pagura <jpagura@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Jon, in this section you are conflating copyright with trademark. They
                  > are in fact very distinct parts of intellectual property law.
                  >
                  > Please refer to <www.uspto.gov> and <www.copyright.gov> for more
                  > information regarding US trademark, patent, and copyright.
                  >
                  >
                  > __________________________________________________________
                  > > 1a. Re: Source material and concept art for inspiration
                  > > Posted by: "foxcymru" j.d.skrine@... foxcymru
                  > > Date: Sun Aug 3, 2008 3:29 am ((PDT))
                  > >
                  > > Hi,
                  > >
                  > > Everyone is afraid of 'Copyright' but there is really very little to
                  > > worry about when not producing anything for a commercial purpose.
                  > >
                  > > [...]
                  > > There is a sensible way of looking at this. If the item that you are
                  > > producing is being sold it is likely that the originator may get
                  > > upset, and threaten legal action. In the USA they have to defend their
                  > > copyright or lose it - the big example of copyright loss is Kleenex,
                  > > who failed to act to stop others using their name as a generic term
                  > > for tissue.
                  > >
                  > > In the UK failure to defend is not so problematic. 'Hoover' is a
                  > > generic term for vacuum cleaner but could never be used by another
                  > > manufacturer.
                  > > [...]
                  > > All the best,
                  > >
                  > > Jon
                  >





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Daniel Lynn
                  I just wanted to support Jeff on this. Don t base your decisions on any of the common knowledge out there. A few years back I was asked about sculpting
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 5, 2008
                    I just wanted to support Jeff on this. Don't base your decisions on any of
                    the "common knowledge" out there. A few years back I was asked about
                    sculpting things that were questionable in relation to copyright. I went to
                    lawyers for advice and was basically told that there's a massive gray area
                    in the middle where you just don't want to be. Maybe it's ok, maybe not, but
                    if the holder of the copyright wants to push it, the cost in legal fees goes
                    way over anything you'll make from the sculpt and even in commissioned work,
                    the sculptor is definitely a potential target of those suits.



                    This is, of course, getting way off the scope of the initial question. For
                    practicing, it's just not financially worthwhile for someone to go after you
                    and the worst you'd probably get is a cease and desist order if you're
                    posting pictures and they don't want you to, but your safest bet is always
                    to ask permission first. Then, no worries.



                    -Daniel



                    From: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com [mailto:1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com]
                    On Behalf Of Jeff LaMarche
                    Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 9:46 AM
                    To: 1listSculpting@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [1listSculpting] Re: Source material and concept art for
                    inspiration




                    On Aug 5, 2008, at 6:46 AM, foxcymru wrote:
                    > My apologies, I was relying on my American wife's recollection of her
                    > business law courses AND oversimplifying.
                    >
                    > If I may simplify further - In Practice -
                    >
                    > Copying for commercial use can cause problems.
                    >
                    > Copying for personal use shouldn't.

                    In terms of sculpting, this is probably a safe guideline. Intellectual
                    Property law is one of the most difficult areas of law and one that
                    most lawyers don't even attempt to practice. It is extraordinarily
                    complex, the law is not completely consistent - there are several
                    examples where one Federal district has different law than another
                    because two different circuit courts have decided something
                    differently and the issue has never been accepted for review by the
                    Supreme Court.

                    A point of clarification on the trademark thing: Kleenex is still a
                    perfectly valid trademark, as is Xerox, although both were at risk of
                    losing their trademarks through genericization. Some examples of ones
                    that lost their protection are "Aspirin", "Zipper", "Escalator", and
                    "Linoleum", and "Yo-Yo". Corporations are very aggressive these days
                    about making sure this doesn't happen, which is why you see the
                    trademark and registered symbols used obsessively on mass produced
                    items, Although there are still occasional trademarks that become
                    generic (Yellow Cab became generic in 2007), it's a fairly rare
                    occurrence because companies are very motivated to keep trademarks
                    because Trademarks don't expires. The copyright on several Mickey
                    Mouse films, for example, is set to retire (although it never seems to
                    happen, the term gets extended every time that's about to happen), but
                    Mickey Mouse as a trademark won't ever expire unless it becomes
                    generic (unlikely). This makes it very valuable to corporations.

                    Conflating trademark and copyright is understandable, because
                    corporations intentionally blur the lines between the two... they
                    attempt to use (one could say "abuse") trademark law whenever possible
                    simply because it doesn't expire and affords greater protection in
                    many cases. And while it is possible to infringe a trademark by
                    sculpting something, those should be fairly obvious examples in most
                    cases. If you sculpt a muscular guy in a skin tight suit with an 'S'
                    on his chest, a cape, and a stray lock of hair on his forehead, the
                    behemoth that is Warner Bros. will probably come after you if they
                    become aware of it and you are selling in more than a tiny quantity.
                    This tiny quantity isn't a legal thing, it's merely a cost-benefit
                    analysis on their part. They let some stuff (like garage kits) fly
                    under the radar because it would cost too much to pursue and isn't
                    likely to cause them to lose any rights.

                    When it comes to copying copyrighted material, it's really fuzzy, and
                    the determination of whether something is infringing is usually a
                    question of fact, which means you might be sure something has or
                    hasn't infringed and end up getting the opposite result if it goes to
                    trial. It's very subjective, which is part of what makes it a hard
                    area of law and the reason why a lot of cases settle.

                    In the example above, it'd be pretty obvious if you sculpted Superman.
                    Everybody knows what he looks like, and you'd probably have to change
                    the character a lot to get away with it. Removing the S logo might be
                    enough, maybe not, maybe the lock of hair would have to go also. Hard
                    to say. A muscular guy in a cape is probably generic enough. Every
                    case is unique. If you look through the lines of miniatures from
                    companies like Reaper, you can find many examples of where they
                    provide a figure similar to a trademarked monster like WoTC's
                    Beholder. If they used the word "Beholder", they'd definitely be in
                    for trouble, but if they change the name to "Eye Monster" and make
                    some subtle changes to appearance, they're probably all right, though
                    it's always at least a little bit of a gamble.

                    Well, I've rambled enough. My only real advice is avoid giving advice
                    on this and don't take risks based on the advice of people who aren't
                    lawyers. "Common knowledge" in this area is often wrong, based on
                    outdated law, or fails to take into account the vagaries of the law or
                    the fickleness of the fact finder. But if you're just sculpting for
                    yourself and aren't going to ever sell the piece, you are free to do
                    pretty much whatever you want.

                    Jeff

                    For the record, I am a retired lawyer, but I am not YOUR lawyer and
                    this is not intended as legal advice, just a friendly info-dump. :)





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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