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Copyrightquestion: Art by DaVinci, Warhol and others in a Card Game

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Eichhorn
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Joined: 04/26/2010

Hi I'm new to this place and I hope I don´t violate any forum rules by making this topic.

So now on to my problem:
I created a Cardgame and I´m now looking into my publishing options. The thing is that I want artistic control over the game, because I got a pretty good graphicdesign background and I think any alterations to the game whatsoever would be bad. So I´m looking into self-publishing.
However it is important for the game to use real Artworks, from all the eras of art History. I researched this matter and how I see it artworks from DaVinci and other long gone artists are free to use, if the photo I use is just a reproduction of the original artwork.
My problem is with the more recent artists. Pollock, Warhol and others aren´t dead long enough for thier artworks to be copyright free. So does anyone know how to obtain the rights to use Warhol&co's Pictures and more importantly how much that would cost? I#m not expecting to print massive amounts, i just wanna know if self publishing is at all affordable or if I should seek a hopefully nice small publisher.
BTW i'm in europe if that is important for the lawside of things.

THX for any answers.

Willi B
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Sadly...

I think you are going to have to approach the individual families/rights owners on that... and then they will probably want more than would be feasible for you to do it.

That's my guess.

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
AFAIK, Willi B is right. And

AFAIK, Willi B is right. And I don't think finding a publisher would help on that side. What most publishers will do is just go one of two alternate routes:

a) only use artworks in the public domain
b) instead of actual artworks by famous artists, find a versatile illustrator and get the artists style copied.

Eichhorn
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Joined: 04/26/2010
what about this

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jLRRrptcL.jpg

doesn´t this (link above) prove it´s doable without immense costs per finished product?
I bought it for 8€ (marked off from 15€, which is the regular price) so the licensing can´t be that expensive.
I´d be willing to do everything myself up to one relatively high quality prototype(printed on heavy paper instead of cardstock). So I´d have one prototype with finished art and everything. Then I just need to either sort out the copyright stuff myself or find a small publisher who is willing to.
My main motivation is that using the original paintings and not some replacements, is very key for the whole game. The theme and the mechanics are interwoven and work too good together to change anything.

Thanks for the replies. I really appreciate your comments.

Pastor_Mora
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No even Knizia did it

There are many Art games around. You can check BGG for complete lists on them. However, I cannot think of one that uses original modern art. Most use only old paintings (copyrights may still apply if they are a part of a private collection) and many use replacements.

The way you put it, it doesn't look like the (spent) auctioning mechanic, or the (spent) trivia mechanic.
Did you put up a forgery detection mechanic? Because I have a way around copyright for it you can use (old abandoned design of mine).

Let me know. Keep thinking!

Eichhorn
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Joined: 04/26/2010
Funny story

Funny story(I guess apretty common one too):
I came up with the game concept (which does involve auctioning) and had the game down relativly close to it´s finished state, before it crossed my mind that there is probably a game like it already out there.
That´s when I went on the net and researched a bit and I found that indeed Knizia did such a art auction-game back in 1993. However after the first stage of being sorry for myself, I bought the 2009 Version of "Modern Art" by Knizia and found it to be not immensly similiar to my game. The theme sure, but the mechanics and actual playing expierience are quite different. "Modern Art" is a very mathematical game, calculating and wise bidding are key, in my game players influence on the economy of things is much greater. Plus my concept involves a educational aspect about art history and it´s aimed at Art fans aswell as gamers.

So after thinking about laying the design to rest, I'm now absolutly sure it can hold it`s own against "Modern Art".

seo
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Eichhorn

Eichhorn wrote:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jLRRrptcL.jpg

doesn´t this (link above) prove it´s doable without immense costs per finished product?

My guess is Ravensburger, being in the Hasbro league rather than in the self publisher or small independent publisher league, was able to sell enough copies of a very mainstream game like Memory to pay the Andy Warhol Foundation however much they requested for the Marilyn portrait rights.

The rest of the images visible in that picture seem to be from painters historic enough to be in the public domain (not sure about Modigliani, but I'm pretty sure Van Gogh, Lautrec and anything before their time is).

Not knowing your game details, I'm not sure how many of the images fall in the "have to pay" category, nor how many copies they game can potentially sell. Maybe it is doable. If I were you I would try to at least minimize the amount of pictures requiring royalties payment, and keep the rest.

pelle
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Pastor_Mora wrote:original

Pastor_Mora wrote:
original modern art. Most use only old paintings (copyrights may still apply if they are a part of a private collection)

I never heard ot that rule. Are you sure? Not that it matters much since you are unlikely to be able to sneak in and get a photo of the painting if it is in a private collection.

The mention above about at straight photograph of an old painting not extending copyright, that is only valid for some countries, like the US (if my readings of Wikipedia is correct). Howerver it might be valid in other countries. Last time I read up on the subject there was some ongoing court-case in the UK trying to decide if it should be true there as well. But elsewhere, like here in Scandinavia, any photograph has a special 50 years protection time no matter how trivial the photograph.

Grover
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Joined: 04/21/2010
Photos are copyright as well

Photos of art, whether classic or otherwise, are copyright and belong to the photographer or the agency commissioning them. You can't just grab them off the net unless they are specifically public domain as with images on Wikipedia. Most images you find online are of insufficient resolution for quality printed output anyway.

Having said that, check the many stock photo sites out there. Chances are some of these have the kinds of images you seek for a few dollars per. Fees depend on usage and this sounds fairly limited.

Eichhorn
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Joined: 04/26/2010
I read up on the subject

I recall reading, that pictures of artworks, are only protected ny copyright if the photographer does some creative stuff with the compostition (lightning, angle and stuff). If a photo is just reproducing a two dimensional work of art, there is no copyright, because he is merely reproducing the original. I don´t know if this is true for other countries (I´m based in Austria).
Maybe I should try and approach some of the museums we have in Vienna and ask them about photos of thier collection. All in all my game would help build peoples awareness of art and maybe get them interested in going to see the original.
I also thought about trying to get in contact with some cultural institution, which gives people money for art projects and stuff and ask them.

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Probably the most famous

Probably the most famous legal case concerning copyright and public domain works of art is the Corel Bridgeman Case. There's also an ongoing case between UK's National Portrait Gallery and Wikipedia that will probably settle a milestone for British law in the subject.

This is a good summary of the Corel Bridgeman case, including some info about how the issue might be handled in other European countries:
http://www.electriclane.co.uk/copyright/mt0gw3pfj.html

Some more info en the case here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp.

And here's a summary of the National Portrait Gallery versus Wikipedia case: http://www.artquest.org.uk/artlaw/copyright/copyright-and-the-internet/v...

And some more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Portrait_Gallery_copyright_conflicts

In short: there's no short and easy answer. When it comes to works of art in the public domain, international law leans toward not granting copyrights to reproductions, but you might want to consult a lawyer about the specifics of local law in whatever country you will have the game published, or even sold.

Eichhorn
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Joined: 04/26/2010
thanks

I´ll look into that. I already thought about consulting someone with some knowlegde in copyright.
edit:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:When_to_use_the_PD-Art_tag
This page pretty much says I can use pictures with that tag as publicdomain. They list countries which are exceptions to this and austria is not mentioned, however germany is listed as country where this applies.

So does this mean I could use any artworks from wiki who have that PD-Art tag? If that´s indeed the case I could probably restrict images in my game to pics with that tag available on wiki...

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