Media Bakery ID: AUR0015437 A woman takes a photo of a man canoeing on a lake at sunset in Idaho.

Reproduction of Art: Is it legal?

It’s often been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Often true, until its not flattering.

Lets say you took a picture, you love that picture and you had it hanging in a gallery or coffee shop when another artist saw it and has contacted you asking, “Could I make a painting based on your picture?” while offering a percentage of the sales.

Flustered and flattered you think through your options… What are they?

At Media Bakery we try to be on top of what copyright rules are and what they mean in the photography world. Here’s a glimpse for this scenario:

Because the image in question is one that you took, you hold the copyright. Meaning, in part, that you have complete control of all future uses of the image, including reproduction! Anything reproduced from it would be considered derivative work.

Derivative work could be:

  • A movie based on a book
  • A drawing based on a sculpture
  • A book translated from one language to another
  • A painting based on a photographs

And everything that is a derivative has to be made with permission from the copyright holder (in this case, you!) So the choice is up to you. Maybe a derivative of your work will be flattering!

Copyrights can be confusing, and so can your rights as an artist. Feel free to let Media Bakery know anytime you have thoughts or questions, it’s what we’re here for!

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