It hurts when someone like Alex Wild, who shares his fantastic imagery with me via his blog, writes something like this:
I’ve had not one but several pest control operators claim that all internet images including mine are public domain, refuse to remove images, repost images after DMCA takedowns, question my ownership rights over my own photographs … and accuse me of being a predatory copyright troll out to hurt small businesses.
Widening the scope of recent events, ArtEvolved is confronting an image-pilferer and numerous bloggers and re-bloggers are plugging palaeoillustrations, with or without author credit and artists are accessing information and skeletal reconstructions blogged by scientists. One step further back reveals a political party here in Germany is making waves for restructuring the political process (for which I find them very sympathetic) and also championing rights to copy… yeah, what? extremely vague definitions of author and usage rights. (If you are in America and view even a third party such as the independents as a freak appearance of some eccentric millionaire then you likely fail to appreciate the impact this will have. A topic outside my normal posting scope)
As a 3D artist, I’m very aware that the methods I use involve the cumulated efforts of literally hundreds of artists, programmers and business folk. Imagery I make often involve texture, lighting and tool presets that others have made, that I have tweaked… and for which there are no credits because it doesn’t fit into the neatly packaged definition of a signed artwork. My own compass in all these issues is centered about ‘intention’ – a wholly subjective and vague appraisal of usage based on interpretation of the goal. Pff.
Is the 3D artist who googled and incorporated a photograph into the background of his/her dinosaur render exercising infringement when the image is used one-to-one? Spliced and cut up into a matte painting? Mapped onto geometry and used as diffusion, displacement and specular maps on a mesh which is then rendered? Who is the author / authors of a textured mesh created via photogrammetry techniques from a museum display which is part bone, part sculptural reconstruction?