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Dolls in Art

Feb 22, 2010

    1. (Apologies if this is already covered, I did search).

      So most people photograph their dolls to share with the doll community and a lot of people draw their dolls or at least their dolls character or make graphics and icons from photos of their doll.
      Now we all know that using another doll owners photograph without credit is wrong, but how important do you think it is to credit the doll (and it's accessories) manufacturer? Especially given that doll photos don't have much exposure outside the doll community.

      I'm a fine artist with a very post modern 'magpie' approach to using found images. A lot of my source material comes from the internet or magazines and because with fine art theres a sort of tacit understanding you dont need to credit visual sources. I could use a copyrighted logo (like the Cambells soup tin for example) and get away with it in a way I couldnt for, say, commercial illustration.

      I'm sure most DoAers are familiar with the case of Mijn Schatje stealing company and owner doll photos and using them in commercial illustration. :evil:
      Do you ever worry that your own doll-inspired creativity could be seen in the same light?
      When do owner pics stop being personal snapshots and start to risk infringing the doll sculptor's intellectual copyright?
    2. Personally, I think so far as we don't make any money off the pictures we take, we should be fine in that respect. As many a publicist has said "there's no bad publicity," and I feel that this (our doll art) certainly qualifies. You can go on DeviantArt and find half a million instances where people have used copyrighted images (Cambell's soup, certain cars, and especially dolls) in their art. While I feel that we should give credit where credit is due (i.e. write a disclaimer for the copyrighted image), I don't think it's entirely necessary. Especially as some of these images (like a Lamborghini or a CP El) are so commonplace as to make the disclaimer almost silly.

      Most doll companies, perhaps all, but I don't feel safe making that assumption, but most doll companies probably don't care about owners taking pictures of the dolls they bought from said companies. If they did, if say a doll company came out and asked doll owners to stop taking pictures of their product, well they would have quite a problem on their hands. It being that there are so many of us doll photographers out there, in so many countries around the world, that even if most of us did do as the company asked, it would still take years for them to sort this out to their satisfaction. And even then, they would have to combat backlash from the community, pop ups of people ignoring their request, and the sheer cross-continental legalities that's enough to make your head explode!

      So we're probably safe with just taking our usual pictures of our dolls, and not have to worry too much about infringing on copyrights.

      Now, if we were to start selling our images, photographs, and the like, this is a different thing entirely. This is where we enter into something beyond simple pictures we take of our dolls (no matter how artistic or well done) and go into commercial use of a copyrighted image. While a doll company probably doesn't care what pictures you take of their dolls, they would certainly start caring if you sold them without their permission! While some doll companies wouldn't mind, as previously mentioned, "there is no such thing as bad publicity", I know there are companies out there that would mind.
    3. Legally, if it's a doll you've purchased, you can take pictures and sell them commercially, if that is your wish. There is nothing the doll company or sculptors can do about it at that point, because you can do whatever you want with a product that belongs to you.

      That said, I'd be pretty pissed if someone just took one of my doll pictures and tried to do something with it (like photo manipulation) and sell it commercially. A photograph is just like a piece of art, it belongs to whoever took it.
    4. Absolutely credit is not essential. Personally I'd still feel bad if I didn't credit the company though. Like a lot of doll clothes companies don't credit their 'models' and I think that's a shame. It's not like the bjd hobby is a widespread thing and It's nice to show support for the various companies.

      I agree, it woud be a nightmare. But it's sometimes hard to say who's an actual owner of a dolll and who's just copying photos they've seen.

      Personally, If someone used one of my doll photos (highly unlikely:sweat) I'd unleash hell.
    5. When I post to my dA, I tend to try and mention everything I can about the doll -- company and sculpt are most important, followed by whoever actually owns the doll, and then I'll try to list clothing/eyes/wig/faceup. It's just a personal quirk of mine, and more because if someone stumbles across my pictures, all of the info they'd want to know about the doll is there. ^-^

      If someone wanted to use my photos for commercial use, I would be fine if they asked me and offered me either part of the profit, or a chunk of money to buy the rights to that photo. But without asking permission, and without compensating me for my work? That's a different story altogether.
    6. I'd be inclined to credit the company for the simple reason that when people see a bunch of photos of a gorgeous doll, they naturally want to know "what is that doll?" and "who made it?" and "where can I get one"? I know whenever I read stories like "The Lonely Doll" in the past I always wanted to know what kind of a doll the Lonely Doll was, and what company made her, and how much she cost, and all that sort of curious stuff.

      I don't worry about infringing anyone's "intellectual copyright" or any other rights, simply because I don't take that many photos and the ones I do take, I would never try to make money off them - they aren't that good anyway.
    7. Hmm... I don't think any of the trendy artists now would be interested in using my pics.. but if they did, I'd simply have the option of my lawyer friend sending a lovely "cease and desist" message. However, if I respected their style and talent enough, I might very well instead call the whole thing off for a good quality signed print in exchange. You scratch my back, I scratch yours, ^_~
      It really depends on what I see, though. I take someone else's sculpture and paint it up and make it lovely. I may even have sold one on ebay for a surprising amount of dosh... if she took one of my images and made a surprising amount of dosh on it, I'd simply expect to be compensated on a similar order of magnitude.
      lol. I feel very fortunate right about now to be very un-trendy!!! I don't have to deal with this situation at all!!! XD

    8. If it's a bigger company that made the doll, I would credit more for the sake of making the info easily available to whoever's looking. It's not like they're in danger of people stealing the credit for their dolls, they're too well-known for that to happen... all a person would have to do is come here and ask "what's this doll?" and they'd have the answer in an instant, so it wouldn't be significantly misleading not to credit.

      If it's a smaller company or artist, I would credit more for the sake of giving them the credit and promotion they deserve. (And showing respect for an artist I admire of course.) In the case of smaller companies I would be more bothered if I saw that someone didn't credit, because it could be harder to find out what doll it is, since it's not common knowledge.

      It depends on all aspects of the situation, for me. On the prominence of the doll in the piece, on the origin of the doll, on the way it is used, etc. All these things determine weather or not failure to credit will have a negative impact.
    9. This is not strictly true. Say you have bought an El from Luts; you've bought a doll from them, but you haven't bought the rights to the sculpt from Luts. You can take photographs of your El for your own use, but for-profit, commerical ventures using your El's image need to be approved by the sculptor/company who produced the doll. The same rules that prevent you from recasting the El, prevent you from distributing and selling photographs of El without the permission of Luts. Most companies don't appreciate other people making money off their products. This is true for western doll companies too, I doubt Mattel would be accomodating if someone made artwork prominently featuring Barbie without the artist at least crediting them for being the manufacturer of Barbie.

      Whilst a photograph is copyright to the person who took it, the subject of the photograph is not copyright to the photographer. Without crediting the company/sculptor who made the doll you risk falling foul of breaching their copyright, particularly if you sell the images for a profit.

      One of the biggest reasons why the mods decided against allowing members to create and sell doll photobooks here was because members couldn't guarantee that they would seek permission from the doll companies before they made their photobook, and the mods didn't want to alienate doll companies through members making and selling unlicensed, uncredited photobooks without seeking the permission of the companies involved.

      Personally, if I was to do a great deal of photography to share with the community I consider it a small thing to also credit the company who created the doll alongside myself as photographer, wherever possible I'll include credits for the clothing, wig, eyes and face-up too. If someone likes the style of my doll and wants to find similar things, it's always handy to have a search reference.
    10. I appreciate the legal aspects of this discussion, but it does seem to be overstating the problem. I always thought the info provided on DoA pictures was for the members. Being a guy, all you have to do is change the hair and I can't tell one sculpt from another!*_* And where did that outfit come from...

      I really thought the credits were for more "nuts and bolts" kind of reasons.
    11. I think this subject has been talked to death, and seemingly to no avail, as it does not seem to have penetrated most people's brains here that using objects in art does not require anyone's permission and the likely hood of an actionable lawsuit because you used the image of a doll slim to none and the chance of it prevailing laughable. Seriously, if you want to study it, go ahead. I already have, as I studied law for a bit.
      That said, I still don't get the outrage over "not crediting" a doll company. Unless you were using the image say, in a car commercial, it wouldn't be worth it to file the papers.
      Is it ethical? In my opinion, yes. Once I interpret the subject, it's mine. In most countries in the Western Hemisphere, as far as I know.

      That said, of course a photography book, or a film needs crediting, just as you need releases from humans to use them in your product. As for a painting or drawing all bets are off.
    12. (Slightly OT, but a source of personal outrage) I've had a Ringdoll rep use some of my own personal photos of Tyler to advertise the Ryan model without my permission. Even though Tyler is a RD Ryan - I still found this incredibly offensive because I wasn't asked for permission for my copyrighted photos, and neither was I credited. The photos belong to me, and I should have at least been -asked-. Crediting photos when they are used as taken is essential.

      I think that mentioning the model is the right thing to do - if only because it answers the 'what is that doll?' question. If people are curious about the doll, then letting them know what model it is is a polite thing to do. (is is. Makes me hurt a little.)

      I agree with Stella Maris. The cases would be laughed at by most attorneys, because artists do commonly use reference images for sketches, anatomy practice, background inspiration... most anything. I use my boys as posers and models for pictures all the time - I'm not going to credit a company for a sketch loosely based off the proportions my doll had when I had him standing that way, or looking this direction. Mostly because the final result is so different as to be completely unrecognisable.

      This answer was slightly wishy-washy, sorry. I hope I got my point across.
    13. When do owner pics stop being personal snapshots and start to risk infringing the doll sculptor's intellectual copyright?

      When you start selling them for big bucks is the cynical and totally true answer. If you want to make spectacularly unsuccessful (financially) art then go right ahead but if you become a success and earn a lot of money through it you then become "worth" sueing!