Friday, July 17, 2009
HIGHLAND SHEEP & BARN IN SNOW ©1881
Highland Sheep in Snow
I consider two hundred miles per day to be about par for a good winter photography field trip. This image was made in extreme NW Virginia during a snow storm and the sheep were just standing around doing what sheep do naturally.
This image became the subject of a copyright infringement in 2003. I was at home in our previous home in Wyoming going through the latest issue of SOUTHWEST ART when I spotted a quarter-page advertising spread of a group of sheep standing in front of an old barn. I immediately recognized that image as mine. Although it was executed as a watercolor, the concept was irrefutably mine; right down to the faces and position of the sheep. I will post this copy above this entry as an example of what constitutes an infringement. .
I was floored because this meant that someone held on to this image for over twenty years before copying it. They had cut it out of a magazine that had published one of my early articles.
This was not the first time that I had to take on an artist who stole my work, and I don't mind saying that this could have gone to Federal Court and the artist's reputation would have been ruined. Instead, I charged her several thousand dollars as a usage fee and clearly stated that she would have to go through the entire pile of reproductions (falsely referred to as "prints.") and put in a statement that this concept was taken from an original by Jack Jeffers. A copy of my letter also went to the editor of SOUTHWEST ART.
Many painters just don't get it. Copyright infringement is a serious offence. It is stealing, and that is a no-no. See the notice at the bottom of each of these blog pages. It means what it says. There have been numerous articles written about copyright including one of mine, and it would behove everyone who paints, draws, or sculpts to study up on what will work and what will not. Just because you copied a photograph using watercolors or oils does not justify thievery. It is still an infringement when you use someone else's concept.