Re: A copyright question

Lile Elam ((no email))
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 16:36:12 -0800 (PST)

Am taking this over to the artlaw list....

> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 21:03:45 -0800 (PST)
> X-Sender:
> To:
> From: diane fenster <>
> Subject: Re: A copyright question
> >Does anyone know if I am breaking any copyright laws if I use a subject
> >from an old master and sell prints of my painting. For example, my
> >painting "Vincents passion"
> > is based on a self
> >portrait of Vincent Van Gogh.
> as far as i understand you may be infringing on the copyright of the museum
> that has the painting in it's collection. also if you scanned a photograph
> of the image, you infringed on the copyright of the photographer that took
> the photo for the museum.
> if you plan on selling the work, you'd best consult a copyright lawyer for
> more information.
> diane fenster

Hi Barrie and Diane,

Well I have been asking around and so far from what I have been
told, there really shouldn't be a problem with your creating
a painting that is of an old master's work. Of course I could
be worng on this... but it's similar to a photographer, making
a picture of a famous work and selling that image... painting
is just another way of doing the same thing.

Theres also a question of who has copyrights to the original
painting. I beleave that it's only the artist and not a museum.
Also copyrights are only good for so many years and afterwards
which is generally some time after the artist's death,
the image becomes "public domain" and is owned by the public.

I have been searching for books on Art Law and
have so far found 3 books:

Art Law in a Nutshell by Leonard Duboff (ISBN 0314013350)
A Guide to Licensing Artwork by Marilyn Moore
and Legal Guide to Buying & Selling Art and Collectables
by Armen Vartian (ISBN 156625079X)

I just ordered the books so hopefully one of them will give
some light on this matter.

I have also been surfing the web looking for Art Law related
sites ( is great for this) and have so far found:

I am still looking for Art Law Groups in the US and will let you know
if I find any...