Kerstin Orion (kerstin_orion) wrote in artists_beware,
Kerstin Orion
kerstin_orion
artists_beware

Copyright laws, which country's laws apply when?

(I'm writing not as a moderator but as a member.)

I recently found a 'realistic' artist on FA who paints over/traces photos, without permission or credit. I wouldn't have stuck my nose in, but they do this with commissions, not just their personal art. (Not that it's legal to trace if it's personal art, but it peeves me when commissioners unknowingly pay for traced art...)

When I mentioned politely that this was against copyright laws, the artist said, 'Not in Australia. I have done extensive research into my country's copyright laws, etc., etc...'.

My limited internet research into Australian copyright law did not seem to agree with the artist's claim. However, I only spent an hour or so researching this. Additionally, I've read/heard that where internet image hosting is concerned, the laws of the country where the servers reside take precedence, but again, I am not certain.

So, my questions are:

1. If an artist lives in one country, but posts their art on a site with servers based in another country, whose copyright laws apply?

2. More specifically, does Australia actually allow tracing/painting precisely over photographs without permission?

(Not naming this artist, yet, until I know more about the copyright laws. Also because, while I am pretty certain much of their gallery is traced, I was only able to locate a single exact art-to-photo match. The rest of their gallery looks like this image, though, with slightly wonky/frankensteined anatomy, but I couldn't find the source photos.)

EDIT: I am referring purely to the artist tracing photos which do not belong to them or which are not 'free stock'. The one example I found expressly stated that the photographer gave no permission for the photo to be used in any way.

EDIT TWO: The artist's replies when I linked the copied photo:

First:
I have fully researched copyright before and discovered it's not illegal, at least in this country, to draw from photographs because of the difference in mediums. Thank you for the link however, it was an older photo reference and I didn't know the photographer. I will remove the image because I don't wish to break any copyright laws that other countries have in place.

Second (after I asked which country they were in):
I live in Australia ;) I had to do a lot of research into copyright laws once because a company stole and published my artwork without my consent and I didn't get anything back from it, and during my research I did come across these types of laws. In one case, somebody actually copied somebody else's painting, and the artist tried to sue them but the person was proven innocent because it was a 'different style'. It's a real grey area though, I guess it would depend on the actual case.
Tags: copyright, discussion
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