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Intellectual Property Rights on coins


Tooeygeotrashed
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if it her own photo that's understood — unless she/he has photographed an object that is protected like some parks rides and other objects. many places simply say no photography allowed. or personal use of the photo only. that means no geocoins as a commercial enterprise.

 

so to be really clear, using someone else's photo is verbotten. using ones own photo is ok, unless the object is private, protected by licensing or copyrighted - then it is not ok.

 

think of a train. you shoot a UP train. you want to use the photo of the train for a geocoin. BUT you cannot use the UP logo on the coins. so what you end up is a generic image of an engine.

 

there is an art event down in one of the california beach towns called the "sawdust festival." signs everywhere say no photographs allowed. being a newspaper shooter i was given permission. but if someone else snapped a pic surreptitiously and then tried to make a geocoin from it, that would be illegal.

 

if there is any doubt, ask for permission. better yet, use original art that contains no logos or other identifiable elements.

 

does this make sense everyone?

 

rsg

 

I think some clarity needs to be instituted here on some key points. (This is in response to a number of posts here, but yours makes a point I would like to address RSG so please forgive me quoting this particular post.)

 

1) Using a photograph as inspiration is fine. Using the photograph as part of a new design is fine, but you should check what the current requirements are. Last time I checked, the derivitive work must contain less that 30% of the image/likeness in the overall new artwork. This applies to all forms of art.

 

2) Rules for Homage pieces can take a large part in derivitive works. Certain images can be used to pay homage to various entities as long as the pieces are not sold. Consider the Campbell's soup can as art by Warhol. Being that eventually every geocoin is likely to be sold that is a slippery slope at best though.

 

3) Permission, Permission, Permission. When in doubt, get permision. Just ask and you'd be surprised how often you can use an image. I've been told "no" more than once, but by asking I often get a "yes" usually.

 

4) Know your Copyright laws, and if you don't, then don't take chances.

 

5) Groundspeak approval should not be a defense against copyright protection. It's not their job to do the research the designer is required by law to have performed.

 

6) In the matter of the train, I believe that arguement may be wrong. If the train is an object in public view and a photographer shoots the image, then said photographer has the right to sell the image. A coin is consider 3 dimensional art and is afforded the same rights. If you were to use the UP logo outside of it's appearance on the train however, that would be a violation. The logo use as an individual element has protection. The logo as one part of an overall image, does not. Otherwise, every private photo ever taken in public would be at risk of breaking the law.

 

7) Professional artists have a responsibility to know these laws and to uphold them. The client wants you to break it? Too bad! Not going to get paid for it now? Too bad! I've turned down a lot of paying jobs for just this reason and so have a lot of other artists. It shouldn't even be a matter of contention. I'm not breaking the law because someone else is paying for it. If I were, that would just make me a professional thief instead of a professional artist.

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if it her own photo that's understood — unless she/he has photographed an object that is protected like some parks rides and other objects. many places simply say no photography allowed. or personal use of the photo only. that means no geocoins as a commercial enterprise.

 

so to be really clear, using someone else's photo is verbotten. using ones own photo is ok, unless the object is private, protected by licensing or copyrighted - then it is not ok.

 

think of a train. you shoot a UP train. you want to use the photo of the train for a geocoin. BUT you cannot use the UP logo on the coins. so what you end up is a generic image of an engine.

 

there is an art event down in one of the california beach towns called the "sawdust festival." signs everywhere say no photographs allowed. being a newspaper shooter i was given permission. but if someone else snapped a pic surreptitiously and then tried to make a geocoin from it, that would be illegal.

 

if there is any doubt, ask for permission. better yet, use original art that contains no logos or other identifiable elements.

 

does this make sense everyone?

 

rsg

 

I think some clarity needs to be instituted here on some key points. (This is in response to a number of posts here, but yours makes a point I would like to address RSG so please forgive me quoting this particular post.)

 

1) Using a photograph as inspiration is fine. Using the photograph as part of a new design is fine, but you should check what the current requirements are. Last time I checked, the derivitive work must contain less that 30% of the image/likeness in the overall new artwork. This applies to all forms of art.

 

2) Rules for Homage pieces can take a large part in derivitive works. Certain images can be used to pay homage to various entities as long as the pieces are not sold. Consider the Campbell's soup can as art by Warhol. Being that eventually every geocoin is likely to be sold that is a slippery slope at best though.

 

3) Permission, Permission, Permission. When in doubt, get permision. Just ask and you'd be surprised how often you can use an image. I've been told "no" more than once, but by asking I often get a "yes" usually.

 

4) Know your Copyright laws, and if you don't, then don't take chances.

 

5) Groundspeak approval should not be a defense against copyright protection. It's not their job to do the research the designer is required by law to have performed.

 

6) In the matter of the train, I believe that arguement may be wrong. If the train is an object in public view and a photographer shoots the image, then said photographer has the right to sell the image. A coin is consider 3 dimensional art and is afforded the same rights. If you were to use the UP logo outside of it's appearance on the train however, that would be a violation. The logo use as an individual element has protection. The logo as one part of an overall image, does not. Otherwise, every private photo ever taken in public would be at risk of breaking the law.

 

7) Professional artists have a responsibility to know these laws and to uphold them. The client wants you to break it? Too bad! Not going to get paid for it now? Too bad! I've turned down a lot of paying jobs for just this reason and so have a lot of other artists. It shouldn't even be a matter of contention. I'm not breaking the law because someone else is paying for it. If I were, that would just make me a professional thief instead of a professional artist.

 

all interesting and informative.

 

i am wondering about the 30% thing. i have heard people say this over and over, but i cannot find any such percentage in the copyright law.

 

i think we differ one whether a geocoin is 3D art. it does not seem to have been created as an work of art for exhibition, used in an editorial sense, but only created as a commercial venture.

 

trademark logos are also treated differently, which is what protects companies like UP from having their logos on commercial enterprises.

 

private photos taken of public objects are allowed for personal use. to take a picture of the carousel at disneyland and putting it on a coffee mug/mouse pad/geocoin is not. heck i am not sure i could even put it in a textbook which is editorial use and should be ok.

 

which reminds me of a story.

 

i had an gig to shoot a boatload of images for a media aesthetics textbook (say that three times fast) of a group of vhs tapes. the author rejected the first set of photos because i used disney tapes. he said no way.

 

inspiration in the form of a photograph is one thing, to copy it is another thing entirely.

 

just 'cause one adds an ammo can to the photo to make it geoaching related, does not make it ok. i have examples but fear of getting banned for posting keeps me from doing so.

 

sure am curious about that 30% rule. that would be a real eye-opener to me.

 

thanks for the info!

 

rsg

Edited by RedShoesGirl
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all interesting and informative.

 

i am wondering about the 30% thing. i have heard people say this over and over, but i cannot find any such percentage in the copyright law.

 

i think we differ one whether a geocoin is 3D art. it does not seem to have been created as an work of art for exhibition, used in an editorial sense, but only created as a commercial venture.

 

trademark logos are also treated differently, which is what protects companies like UP from having their logos on commercial enterprises.

 

private photos taken of public objects are allowed for personal use. to take a picture of the carousel at disneyland and putting it on a coffee mug/mouse pad/geocoin is not. heck i am not sure i could even put it in a textbook which is editorial use and should be ok.

 

which reminds me of a story.

 

i had an gig to shoot a boatload of images for a media aesthetics textbook (say that three times fast) of a group of vhs tapes. the author rejected the first set of photos because i used disney tapes. he said no way.

 

inspiration in the form of a photograph is one thing, to copy it is another thing entirely.

 

just 'cause one adds an ammo can to the photo to make it geoaching related, does not make it ok. i have examples but fear of getting banned for posting keeps me from doing so.

 

sure am curious about that 30% rule. that would be a real eye-opener to me.

 

thanks for the info!

 

rsg

 

I'll double-check on the 30% for you. The last time I found out for myself it was 66.66% (2/3rds rule), but was told later that rules had relaxed slightly.

 

The coins are absolutely 3d art. No different from a professional potter using a mold to recreate numerous pieces or a photographer making multiple prints of a singe image. If you don't think so I dare you to try and take on TPTB controlling mint art for a country's coinage. This is some of the most highly guarded and valuable imagery in the modern world. Not just for it's reproductive value either.

 

Taking a picture of the carousel at Disneyland would be taking pictures of private property while a guest on private property that is protected to image law. Taking a picture of something in the park as seen from a nearby hill is not. Anything you can see clearly from a public property by line of site is free game. That's why it's so hard to stop the paparazzi.

 

As to your gig, I would reject them, too if the subject were Disney tapes only. A combination of tapes is fine, but a single production entity of tapes would make me overly cautious as well.

 

By the way, a little off the subject, but there is a call to artists from the US mint right now for coin designers. If you like history and are an avid illustrator this may be your chance to be part of history.

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all interesting and informative.

 

i am wondering about the 30% thing. i have heard people say this over and over, but i cannot find any such percentage in the copyright law.

 

i think we differ one whether a geocoin is 3D art. it does not seem to have been created as an work of art for exhibition, used in an editorial sense, but only created as a commercial venture.

 

trademark logos are also treated differently, which is what protects companies like UP from having their logos on commercial enterprises.

 

private photos taken of public objects are allowed for personal use. to take a picture of the carousel at disneyland and putting it on a coffee mug/mouse pad/geocoin is not. heck i am not sure i could even put it in a textbook which is editorial use and should be ok.

 

which reminds me of a story.

 

i had an gig to shoot a boatload of images for a media aesthetics textbook (say that three times fast) of a group of vhs tapes. the author rejected the first set of photos because i used disney tapes. he said no way.

 

inspiration in the form of a photograph is one thing, to copy it is another thing entirely.

 

just 'cause one adds an ammo can to the photo to make it geoaching related, does not make it ok. i have examples but fear of getting banned for posting keeps me from doing so.

 

sure am curious about that 30% rule. that would be a real eye-opener to me.

 

thanks for the info!

 

rsg

 

I'll double-check on the 30% for you. The last time I found out for myself it was 66.66% (2/3rds rule), but was told later that rules had relaxed slightly.

 

The coins are absolutely 3d art. No different from a professional potter using a mold to recreate numerous pieces or a photographer making multiple prints of a singe image. If you don't think so I dare you to try and take on TPTB controlling mint art for a country's coinage. This is some of the most highly guarded and valuable imagery in the modern world. Not just for it's reproductive value either.

 

Taking a picture of the carousel at Disneyland would be taking pictures of private property while a guest on private property that is protected to image law. Taking a picture of something in the park as seen from a nearby hill is not. Anything you can see clearly from a public property by line of site is free game. That's why it's so hard to stop the paparazzi.

 

As to your gig, I would reject them, too if the subject were Disney tapes only. A combination of tapes is fine, but a single production entity of tapes would make me overly cautious as well.

 

By the way, a little off the subject, but there is a call to artists from the US mint right now for coin designers. If you like history and are an avid illustrator this may be your chance to be part of history.

 

>>Last time I checked, the derivitive work must contain less that 30% of the image/likeness in the overall new artwork. This applies to all forms of art.<<

 

if only 30% of the original work can be used, that is tightening the rules from 66%.

 

ok, i cry uncle on the coin as art concept - you are, of course an artist working in metal. :laughing:

 

>>Anything you can see clearly from a public property by line of site is free game. That's why it's so hard to stop the paparazzi.<<

 

paparazzi are protected by the law for editorial use of their pics, same constitution law that protects newspapers.

 

but they can't put a pic of a rock star on a commercial enterprise. at least they are not supposed to.

 

so what you are saying, is a copy of a photo taken on private property may not be used on a geocoin? that's what i think.

 

first it is the photo that is copyrighted, then isn't the object that was photographed, let's say for a book, protected?

 

rsg

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What if I take a picture of a soup can (trademarked) and screen print it large in 3 colors? You'd think it violates copyright/trademark...but it didn't (because campbells dopped their lawsuit against warhol). What is funny is that Warhol copyrighted those!

 

Point being...copywright law is determed at the end of a lawsuit, not before. There is no clear defination, law by its very nature, is gray. That is why there is court, to make black and white out of the gray laws.

 

Fun fact: soup sales surged during warhol's release of his soup can prints!

Edited by Zelanzy
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we had this discussion a couple of years ago regarding some specific coins. anyone who wishes to read it can. it is interesting.

 

http://tinyurl.com/23up9qp

Wow, that was a whirlwind read! Thanks for linking it, I'm not sure it's directly related to the issue in this thread (which is more about rights, less about artist contractual obligations) but it certainly was helpful to me. I've been contacted to do some designs lately and am pondering if that is something I'd ever be interested in doing!
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Good point :laughing: A really, REALLY useful bit of info to have is that Copyrights must be renewed. They don't last forever so if you are going to look for useful imagery, you can use this fact as a guide to narrow down your resources list. It is 50 years in the US (last I checked), but I see the UK has upped theirs to 70. So a lot of what is available from previous centuries is often up for use, but always, always check because heirs to the original copyrights can keep renewing the copyrights indefinitely at their discretion.

 

Here's the link for the basics we should all know about copyrights when designing a coin:

 

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

 

Coins are most certainly copyrighted works of art. More specifically, the original coin design is copyrighted and all subsequent manufactured coins are considered an extension of that design. Similar to someone creating music and then selling copies on disk. The rights to copying said music is strictly enforced.

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Good point :) A really, REALLY useful bit of info to have is that Copyrights must be renewed. They don't last forever so if you are going to look for useful imagery, you can use this fact as a guide to narrow down your resources list.

 

just so we are clear, when art is created it is copyrighted. it does not have to be registered. the images i made, let's say 50 years ago (not that old but just for discussion) are still copyrighted to me. so if there is an 80-year-old photographer that made images when he was 20, his images do not go out of copyright because it is 60 years later and those rights can be left to heirs. and he does not have to reregister his images just because they are older than 50. i think that number is how long they are copyrighted AFTER his death, without bequest.

 

let's say i croak tomorrow. my work does not automatically enter the public domain. just as ansel adams work is not in the public domain despite being dead since 1984.

 

It is 50 years in the US (last I checked), but I see the UK has upped theirs to 70. So a lot of what is available from previous centuries is often up for use, but always, always check because heirs to the original copyrights can keep renewing the copyrights indefinitely at their discretion.

 

Here's the link for the basics we should all know about copyrights when designing a coin:

 

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

 

Coins are most certainly copyrighted works of art. More specifically, the original coin design is copyrighted and all subsequent manufactured coins are considered an extension of that design. Similar to someone creating music and then selling copies on disk. The rights to copying said music is strictly enforced.

 

the sticky point we have found in the photographic field is there is a limitation on damages if one has not registered the image. last i knew it was like $1500. and one needs to sue when the infringement happens, not years later.

 

i had a publishing company use one of my pics without permission. i sent them a bill for $500. they were a tad upset, but paid - with some griping. but it was either pay me, or pull all their textbooks off the shelves. they got off cheap. now, if i had registered that image, i could have sued for a lot more money. but when one has thousands of images, registering them is a little unwieldy.

 

you said it well, when designing a coin, know the law. because you never know who will come calling if you decide to use imagery that is not yours. the issue, too, of coins goes back to work for hire.

 

or in partnership - who really is the copyright holder? only a judge knows for sure.

 

i think the best way to avoid all this is to do your own original art. from your own eyes. perhaps that is a little idealistic.

 

what did you find about the 30% thing?

 

great discussion!

 

rsg

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I'm about to offer nothing of great value here (how unusual ;)). Take the following in the fun spirit it was meant :)

 

My art professor just posted the following quote on his Facebook page today and it made me laugh knowing you all were here discussing this :rolleyes: This topic had come up in a couple of the classes I had taken with him... anyhow, don't pass judgement, you'd have to know him in order to see the humor in his intent :D

 

In the words of the great Pablo Picasso: "Good artists copy, Great artists steal."

 

tsun

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I'm about to offer nothing of great value here (how unusual ;)). Take the following in the fun spirit it was meant :)

 

My art professor just posted the following quote on his Facebook page today and it made me laugh knowing you all were here discussing this :rolleyes: This topic had come up in a couple of the classes I had taken with him... anyhow, don't pass judgement, you'd have to know him in order to see the humor in his intent :D

 

In the words of the great Pablo Picasso: "Good artists copy, Great artists steal."

 

tsun

 

So... where stand those that won't do neither? :lol:

 

Keep the good work!

 

(maybe that is why I always get mad when someone call me an artist :o)

Edited by ruidealmeida
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if it her own photo that's understood — unless she/he has photographed an object that is protected like some parks rides and other objects. many places simply say no photography allowed. or personal use of the photo only. that means no geocoins as a commercial enterprise.

 

so to be really clear, using someone else's photo is verbotten. using ones own photo is ok, unless the object is private, protected by licensing or copyrighted - then it is not ok.

 

think of a train. you shoot a UP train. you want to use the photo of the train for a geocoin. BUT you cannot use the UP logo on the coins. so what you end up is a generic image of an engine.

 

there is an art event down in one of the california beach towns called the "sawdust festival." signs everywhere say no photographs allowed. being a newspaper shooter i was given permission. but if someone else snapped a pic surreptitiously and then tried to make a geocoin from it, that would be illegal.

 

if there is any doubt, ask for permission. better yet, use original art that contains no logos or other identifiable elements.

 

does this make sense everyone?

 

rsg

 

I think some clarity needs to be instituted here on some key points. (This is in response to a number of posts here, but yours makes a point I would like to address RSG so please forgive me quoting this particular post.)

 

1) Using a photograph as inspiration is fine. Using the photograph as part of a new design is fine, but you should check what the current requirements are. Last time I checked, the derivitive work must contain less that 30% of the image/likeness in the overall new artwork. This applies to all forms of art.

 

2) Rules for Homage pieces can take a large part in derivitive works. Certain images can be used to pay homage to various entities as long as the pieces are not sold. Consider the Campbell's soup can as art by Warhol. Being that eventually every geocoin is likely to be sold that is a slippery slope at best though.

 

3) Permission, Permission, Permission. When in doubt, get permision. Just ask and you'd be surprised how often you can use an image. I've been told "no" more than once, but by asking I often get a "yes" usually.

 

4) Know your Copyright laws, and if you don't, then don't take chances.

 

5) Groundspeak approval should not be a defense against copyright protection. It's not their job to do the research the designer is required by law to have performed.

 

6) In the matter of the train, I believe that arguement may be wrong. If the train is an object in public view and a photographer shoots the image, then said photographer has the right to sell the image. A coin is consider 3 dimensional art and is afforded the same rights. If you were to use the UP logo outside of it's appearance on the train however, that would be a violation. The logo use as an individual element has protection. The logo as one part of an overall image, does not. Otherwise, every private photo ever taken in public would be at risk of breaking the law.

 

7) Professional artists have a responsibility to know these laws and to uphold them. The client wants you to break it? Too bad! Not going to get paid for it now? Too bad! I've turned down a lot of paying jobs for just this reason and so have a lot of other artists. It shouldn't even be a matter of contention. I'm not breaking the law because someone else is paying for it. If I were, that would just make me a professional thief instead of a professional artist.

 

Great points. One to add...

 

The vendor is acutally just as responsible as the artist, since they are producing the coins.

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Good point :unsure: A really, REALLY useful bit of info to have is that Copyrights must be renewed. They don't last forever so if you are going to look for useful imagery, you can use this fact as a guide to narrow down your resources list.

 

just so we are clear, when art is created it is copyrighted. it does not have to be registered. the images i made, let's say 50 years ago (not that old but just for discussion) are still copyrighted to me. so if there is an 80-year-old photographer that made images when he was 20, his images do not go out of copyright because it is 60 years later and those rights can be left to heirs. and he does not have to reregister his images just because they are older than 50. i think that number is how long they are copyrighted AFTER his death, without bequest.

 

let's say i croak tomorrow. my work does not automatically enter the public domain. just as ansel adams work is not in the public domain despite being dead since 1984.

 

It is 50 years in the US (last I checked), but I see the UK has upped theirs to 70. So a lot of what is available from previous centuries is often up for use, but always, always check because heirs to the original copyrights can keep renewing the copyrights indefinitely at their discretion.

 

Here's the link for the basics we should all know about copyrights when designing a coin:

 

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf

 

Coins are most certainly copyrighted works of art. More specifically, the original coin design is copyrighted and all subsequent manufactured coins are considered an extension of that design. Similar to someone creating music and then selling copies on disk. The rights to copying said music is strictly enforced.

 

the sticky point we have found in the photographic field is there is a limitation on damages if one has not registered the image. last i knew it was like $1500. and one needs to sue when the infringement happens, not years later.

 

i had a publishing company use one of my pics without permission. i sent them a bill for $500. they were a tad upset, but paid - with some griping. but it was either pay me, or pull all their textbooks off the shelves. they got off cheap. now, if i had registered that image, i could have sued for a lot more money. but when one has thousands of images, registering them is a little unwieldy.

 

you said it well, when designing a coin, know the law. because you never know who will come calling if you decide to use imagery that is not yours. the issue, too, of coins goes back to work for hire.

 

or in partnership - who really is the copyright holder? only a judge knows for sure.

 

i think the best way to avoid all this is to do your own original art. from your own eyes. perhaps that is a little idealistic.

 

what did you find about the 30% thing?

 

great discussion!

 

rsg

 

Still checking on the percentages rule (had it in my biz of art book but pulled it out for one of these discussions years ago and can't find it now).

 

One point of interest is that many of the photos on government websites are copyright free. You have to do your research, but many pictures paid for by the government are owned by the citizens of their countries. Every government is different, but there is a lot out there for your use if you look for it. :lol:

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