Competition and copyright

I’ve had the privilege of screening the online entries to this year’s Annual Art Competition, and 2007 marks the first year we’ve accepted the format (along with slides) in the competition. There were about 6,000 digital entries to screen and at last–I’m done! (Somebody hug me).

This is my third–perhaps fourth year–participating in the first-round judging, and each year we see some of the same types of issues. (On a side note, one funny thing I’ve noticed is that, generally speaking, cows seem to be a favorite subject of landscape and animal artists. Holy bovines, Batman.)

Anyhow, it never fails to surprise me when I catch a copyright violation, and one entry was a clear example of it–a rip-off of a photograph by Brian Griffin, whose work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London. You can view his photos in that collection by clicking here.
Griffin has a cool website, where you can see the work in question. It originally appeared on the album cover of A Broken Frame by the band Depeche Mode. If I hadn’t been such a fan of the band back in high school, I might not have noticed. When I got home, I grabbed my copy of 100 Best Album Covers and opened right to the page, confirming both the album photo and photographer.

So just a reminder to entrants: Photographers are artists, too, and without their permission, you CANNOT borrow their images to paint from. Best to paint from life–or use your own photos.

On a more pleasant note, screening entries was a great experience and not much compares to whiling away the hours looking at art. Best of luck to all who entered the competition!


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