Copyright for craft/art

Home Forums Photography Q&A Copyright for craft/art

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  • #33232
    Rachelle Nones
    Participant

    After dabbling in landscape photography and photo essays and other genres, I’ve decided that studio photography is what I like best.
    I want to photograph a series of vintage craft items–one item was crafted by a Native American Indian. It is a piece of pottery bearing the face of an American Indian and is signed at the bottom. Is this considered art? Are there any copyright restrictions I should be aware of when photographing vintage craft or artisan items? I am putting my own creative spin on each to make it unique.

    #33372
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    This is a very good question. And a hard one too, which is probably why no one has replied yet.

    Yes, I would say that the picture painted on the pottery of the Indian would be considered “a work of art”, primarily because it is signed.

    As for the legality of photographing works of art, in a nutshell, if the work of art is in the public domain you are free to duplicate it however you want. If not, you could be breaking copyright law. In general, art becomes public domain after 70 years after the death of the artist.

    For work that is not signed or you’re unsure if it is actually considered “a work of art”, how you decide to use the photo might make a difference. If it’s for personal use, you might be able to get by with more than if you were using it for commercial use.

    These links you might find helpful: https://www.teachingcopyright.org/handout/public-domain-faq.html, https://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/when-its-illegal-to-photograph-artwork/

    #33375
    Rachelle Nones
    Participant

    Yes, I might just have to take the photograph and hang it for my own pleasure! IT’s a shame because it is very striking.
    I was wondering about this issue because I stumble across a lot of interesting vintage items and some are very unique so I’m wondering if their unique design was copyrighted. I have a very uniquely shaped vase but it is not signed and was produced by a major glassware/home design maker so I’m thinking it is not copyrighted.

    #33377
    Rachelle Nones
    Participant

    You know, I think I am just going to send a photograph of the pottery to the copyright office and see what they have to say about the issue. It will help me to have that information for future projects.

    #33439
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Please let us know what happens! I don’t have much experience in this area and would love to hear how it goes.

    #33440
    Rachelle Nones
    Participant

    I sent an inquiry to the copyright office for information,along with a photograph for them to examine.

    I hope they don’t tell me to consult with a copyright lawyer because that would mean that the issue is pretty complex and I was hoping it
    would be easier to resolve.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

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