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Old 11-23-2008, 09:35 PM   #1
Linda Nelson Linda Nelson is offline
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Privacy issues and dispaying works of art




I have a client who is saying she doesn't want me to display her painting in any form, as her childrens faces are in it, albeit they are small in scale to the painting. Personally I think she's acting this way because she wants so sort of compensation for the "use" of 'her work'.

What are the rights of a portrait artist to show their work or publish their work, when you have identifiable subjects (somtimes minor children). Do the rights of the artist change if the reference material was taken in a public spot? Do artists have inherent copyright or fair uses priveledges with their work that supercede individual's privacy rights.

I have the Legal Guide for the Visual Artist, but it lacks info on this specific issue. Thanks to anyone for your opinions and guidance. I'd prefer to avoid a lawyer if I can find a legal reference that will be persuasive.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:02 AM   #2
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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It is my understanding that you need a release form if you publish the painting. I think you can use it in your portfolio, but it would be best to have permission to be fully protected. I have my clients sign a release when they sign the contract. They might specify no last names or choose to not give permission. Then it's up to you whether or not you want to move forward with the painting. If they want you bad enough, you can use that as leverage in getting them to sign. However, trying to get permission after the fact puts you in a weak position. I've been refused permission several times but chose to do the commission anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:31 AM   #3
Linda Nelson Linda Nelson is offline
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Tahnks Marvin. What a tough pickle portrait art can be sometime.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:32 PM   #4
Mary Cupp Mary Cupp is offline
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I have been reading about when to use a model release when displaying a photograph of a person. Here is my current understanding of the rules in photography.

Anytime a person in a photo is recognizable, a model release must be secured if the photo is to be used in any way that is commercial. A release is not required if the photo was taken in a public venue and the use is "editorial" (photo illustrates an article) not commercial. Strictly limited edition "fine art" photos do not require a release.

If I have this right, and if one may translate this to painting, then it would seem to me that a model release would not be legally required to display a painting in a gallery but would be required if the artist is using the image on his or her promotional materials.

Also I am still confused about the question of what makes an image "identifiable" . The information I was reading seemed to define "identifiable" as meaning that the face of the subject is showing. However, would it be deemed "identifiable" if the face is obscured but the subject is wearing a distinctive costume that people who know them would recognize as being characteristic of the subject. Identification is such a multilayered thing. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:07 AM   #5
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Mary, I would say it's better to err on the side of caution and get a model release signed. Then you don't have to worry about interpreting the letter of the law. ;-)
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:22 AM   #6
Linda Nelson Linda Nelson is offline
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I have recently had to defend my copyrights on a painting. In the process, I talked with the lawyer (briefly) regarding usage rights vs. privacy rights. Although we don't we plan to talk specifically about until January, from understand, I believe we as artists have a lot more elbow room about displaying our work publicly than we assume. As long as the person is not publicly identified, or displayed in a disparaging light, we are within our bounds to show our artwork regardless or model release or client permission.
I'll keep you posted as I learn more. For now, as I have said to the lawyer, I plan to err on the side of the respect for privacy of my clients. But as one who truly believes that portraiture is a facet of, if not the ultimate, fine art (I hold the Mona Lisa as defense on that one) it is good for us to know our rights regarding our works as we promote ourselves as artists.
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:01 PM   #7
Mark Branscum Mark Branscum is offline
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The release Form

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Mattelson
I have my clients sign a release when they sign the contract. They might specify no last names or choose to not give permission. Then it's up to you whether or not you want to move forward with the painting. If they want you bad enough, you can use that as leverage in getting them to sign. However, trying to get permission after the fact puts you in a weak position. I've been refused permission several times but chose to do the commission anyway.

Good luck.
Marvin, or anyone else that can assist too ... I am doing 3 commissions of children of which I do not believe the client/parent will have any problem as I landed the job with a sketch of one of her daughters of which I directed her to my blog to see.

With that being said, I am meeting this week with and I felt a release as you mentioned would be appropriate so I might show them in my portfolio.
My question is, are there any examples of releases anywhere I might can see as an artist?
Mark Branscum
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