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Copyright and Sculpting


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I have a couple of sculpting projects I would like to try. I will probably never publish or sell them, but who knows. Anyway, both of my ideas are based off of drawings by other fantasy artists, to a degree.

 

For instance, I would like to try sculpting a dragon and the pose in this one piece of art is exactly what I am looking for. That said, I don't really like many of the dragon's details (i.e., head shape, scaling, spines, or back feet) and would change them. So, that given, how much change is needed to make the sculpture my own and just inspired by other artists and what would be considered copyrightable in a piece of art?

 

TS

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So, that given, how much change is needed to make the sculpture my own and just inspired by other artists and what would be considered copyrightable in a piece of art?
:wacko: That is a milion dollar question only lawyers, judges and juries can answer. :wacko:

 

Once you change the scales and horns, i think you are good. I do not think a pose can be copyreiched.

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I'm no lawyer, but if it's just the pose you're after, you should be good to go. Since you'll be changing the head shape, scales, spines, and feet, you are, in essence, creating something that might indicate a particular piece, but it's not an impersonator. Normally for me, the wings and head are what define a dragon first, with the scales and feet coming second, body shape third, and the spines/fur/fins/whatever and tail last.

 

Look at the Reaper dragons by Sandra. They incorporate many similar poses, but are changed enough to be different dragons completely.

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Ok I'm no Lawyer either but I'm in the entertainment industry, I do know that if you change more than 15% you are good. I'm a cartoonist by trade and everyone in my field can tell you that there are lots of Bugs Bunny type cartoons that came out in the 60's and 70's. I don't know how much this appiles to miniatures but maybe a little Googling wouldn't hurt. ;)

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15% is a myth.

 

Derivative works are handled like a lot of other things in the eyes of the court:

 

"You know it when you see it."

 

A pose is not copyrightable, anymore than a color is. If all you want is to use a similiar pose, there is nothing wrong with that. As far as the sculpture itself goes - it can be hit and miss, though unless it is blatant very few companies/artists press the issue.

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The best (and safest) answer is: Don't put into production anything that you don't have the rights to produce. If there's any part of a model that you didn't make, or don't have express permission to use, then you could get your butt sued off. Better safe than sorry when it comes to IP and copyright issues.

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I see no way a pose can be copyrighted. That's just silly. If you wanted, get someone to "pose" for the piece. When they're close enough to what you want, photograph it, make a copy and seal it in a tamper-evident evelope, mail the envelope to yourself, thus establishing both the source of the pose and the fact that it predates the sculpture (postmark).

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