Arch Vis: Hanging Art and Copyright

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Old 06 June 2013   #1
Arch Vis: Hanging Art and Copyright

When you're hanging art in your arch-vis renders, where does copyright factor in?

If I take a photograph of a room in my house, I don't feel the need to take down all of the art, so I've always assumed arch-vis sits in the same category. If the goal is to reproduce a space, and the art within that space is not the "point" of the image, then does copyright on that art forbid you from reproducing it in this context?

Now how does that extend to spaces that aren't your own?

And how does the purpose of the image factor in to your decision making? If it's folio work, people tend to be much more forgiving of IP "theft" (eg. a sculpt of the Incredible Hulk, an actor's face, or an environmental reproduction from a film). Does that also include art hanging on the walls of your virtual house?
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Old 06 June 2013   #2
I would have thought the usual "not allowed to reproduce in any form without consent" meant just that. It could be argued that using a painting in your finished render could be seen as using it for commercial purposes, or at the very least using it to enhance the value of your own work.
Of course I'm just posting what seems common sense to me, you know the "if it looks black then it has to be black" logic. Others with knowledge of the laws will be able to give you better advice.
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Old 06 June 2013   #3
Well I more or less agree with you. That's the letter of the law, right? But the case can be made for fair use, except that fair use law isn't always strictly defined.

How do you feel when you view something like this: http://jonas.cgsociety.org/gallery/629792/

Now Jonas' Hulk has done the rounds on many an occasion. I've seen it on desktops, and in many a friend's references collection. If we were going to talk strictly the bounds of law, then is Jonas' work "acceptable"? And then, when we talk acceptable, are we being strictly objective, or allowing for subjective ignorance of copyright restrictions when the artist clearly has no ill intent?

From the wikipedia page on fan art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_art):

Quote: Generally, the right to reproduce and display pieces of artwork is controlled by the original author or artist under 17 U.S.C. 106. However, fan art using settings and characters from a previously created work could be considered a derivative work, which would place control of the copyright with the owner of that original work. Display and distribution of fan art that would be considered a derivative work would be unlawful. However, American copyright law allows for the production, display and distribution of derivative works if they fall under a fair use exemption, 17 U.S.C. 107. A court would look at all relevant facts and circumstances to determine whether a particular use qualifies as fair use; a multi-pronged rubric for this decision involves evaluating the amount and substantiality of the original appropriated, the transformative nature of the derivative work, whether the derivative work was done for educational or noncommercial use, and the economic effect that the derivative work imposes on the copyright holder's ability to make and exploit their own derivative works. None of these factors is alone dispositive.


Not exactly clear. But the law states that in most cases, fan arts are derivative works and derivative works cannot be displayed without permission from the copyright owner. That's just the objective fact of it.

My subjective feeling on the matter is, if it's not taking someone else's work and claiming it as your own, it's kosher for non-commercial use (including folio and artistic studies). Jonas' library of work includes a tonne of insanely well crafted personal work too, it should be said. But even if it was just tribute work, I wouldn't second-guess hiring him on the question of legally grey homage.

I don't know anyone who would. Most people I expect would look at that work, comment on how awesome it is, and move on to the next piece without asking to see a written permission slip to use the Hulk in his folio.

I think the arch-vis case gets even more difficult to nail down. Technically, my couch cannot be reproduced. The designer maintains the copyright to its design. So if I photograph my loungeroom artistically, can I not publish that photograph unless I remove the couch first?
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Old 06 June 2013   #4
I see what you mean. Another aspect to consider is that adding the art to your scene could favourably raise the profile of the artist and he or she might be okay with that.
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Old 06 June 2013   #5
A very simple way of looking at this is to consider if the said piece of art is meant to "sell" the arch viz render or just purely as a decorative/supportive element.

If the render shows a known piece of art in perspective on some wall in the background then that's quite different from rendering a high res image with camera in front of a little couch with that particular piece of art full size above it.
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Old 06 June 2013   #6
Originally Posted by Tangled-Universe: A very simple way of looking at this is to consider if the said piece of art is meant to "sell" the arch viz render or just purely as a decorative/supportive element.

If the render shows a known piece of art in perspective on some wall in the background then that's quite different from rendering a high res image with camera in front of a little couch with that particular piece of art full size above it.


Yeah, I think I'm in the same ballpark here. If it's the focal point of the image, that's too much.
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Old 06 June 2013   #7
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