Legality of selling drawings of celebrities... Watch

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somethingbeautiful
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Wondered if anyone knows the legality of selling my own drawings of celebrities? If I find a photograph online and draw from it, is it legal to sell my drawing or does it breach copyright?
I've seen people from the US selling such works for ~$100 per piece, so I figured I may as well try to make a living out of it - but only if it's legal :confused:

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Marlene Dietrich
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
Wondered if anyone knows the legality of selling my own drawings of celebrities? If I find a photograph online and draw from it, is it legal to sell my drawing or does it breach copyright?
I've seen people from the US selling such works for ~$100 per piece, so I figured I may as well try to make a living out of it - but only if it's legal :confused:

Thanks
It's not illegal to draw someone...you can't copyright your face.

In theory they could bring charges against you for libel if the pictures were significantly damaging to their public image or if you copied from a photograph and it was sooo perfect it looked almost exactly the same as the original.

But no...it's not illegal to draw a picture, drawing is a product of your artistic ability and your impression and personal opinion.

Plus if any celeb tried to screw over a young artist making a few quid from selling pictures of them that didn't actually do any harm or break any real laws they'd look like a twit and the cost expenditure both PR wise and in trying to bring a case against you would be absurd in comparison to what you're doing.
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plimsolls
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no...just look at pop art.

if you start drawing brand logos or Disney characters etc, this would be different, however. But you'd most likely fly under the radar though, unless you made a real success out of doing it.
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somethingbeautiful
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(Original post by Marlene Dietrich)
It's not illegal to draw someone...you can't copyright your face.

In theory they could bring charges against you for libel if the pictures were significantly damaging to their public image or if you copied from a photograph and it was sooo perfect it looked almost exactly the same as the original.

But no...it's not illegal to draw a picture, drawing is a product of your artistic ability and your impression and personal opinion.

Plus if any celeb tried to screw over a young artist making a few quid from selling pictures of them that didn't actually do any harm or break any real laws they'd look like a twit and the cost expenditure both PR wise and in trying to bring a case against you would be absurd in comparison to what you're doing.
I understand what your saying - that was what I thought but after Googling it a bit it seems more complicated than that. For instance, if I choose a photograph to draw from, that photo is copyright protected so I am in theory copying a copyrighted work of a photographer. Also, celebrities do 'own' the rights to their image - that's why it's dodgy to print off a bunch of Elvis t-shirts and sell them. So there's 2 things: 1) The copyright of the photograph. 2) The rights of the artist to their own image.

I know it's not illegal to draw a picture, but when it comes to selling it I'm not so sure.

I just can't find any clear answer to it
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Marlene Dietrich
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(Original post by somethingbeautiful)
I understand what your saying - that was what I thought but after Googling it a bit it seems more complicated than that. For instance, if I choose a photograph to draw from, that photo is copyright protected so I am in theory copying a copyrighted work of a photographer. Also, celebrities do 'own' the rights to their image - that's why it's dodgy to print off a bunch of Elvis t-shirts and sell them. So there's 2 things: 1) The copyright of the photograph. 2) The rights of the artist to their own image.

I know it's not illegal to draw a picture, but when it comes to selling it I'm not so sure.

I just can't find any clear answer to it
Well.... the worst that can happen is they could sue you...but unless you suddenly start earning hundreds of thousands of pounds from them it's unlikely.

If they haven't clamped down on the little cart dudes round trafalgar for selling celebrity merchandise I doubt they'll clamp down on you - as far as using photos is concerned, as long as it's not a famous photo and you don't intend to trace it I think you'd be alright.
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mikeyd85
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Do it. Stop only when you're given a C&D letter.
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caiitlinz
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I'm going to say your only problem will be with the copyright holder of the photograph you draw from.

To be honest, so many people do this online anyway, so I don't think you'll be sued or anything.
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TheDefiniteArticle
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I will say to be careful. I'm not sure of the exact copyright issues behind drawings and images - it's something that has never really interested me, but I know that historically courts have taken a much dimmer view of people making a profit from violating copyright (think about the story of the tvshack guy recently).
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janetspillows
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Glad I found this forum. I was thinking of the same thing as the gentleman above. I am pretty good at drawing faces and though it would be great if I could sketch celebrities and sell it on t-shirts, cups, etc, but I am afraid of being sued. I can totally understand why a celebrity wouldn't want their image used for profit. I see so many artists out there selling celebrity drawings on different items and doubt they all asked for permission. And then I worry that if you ask for permission they will want a percentage? Not sure. Maybe it's not worth all the hassle, but I would like to try it out. Will have to do more research.
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doodle_333
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(Original post by janetspillows)
Glad I found this forum. I was thinking of the same thing as the gentleman above. I am pretty good at drawing faces and though it would be great if I could sketch celebrities and sell it on t-shirts, cups, etc, but I am afraid of being sued. I can totally understand why a celebrity wouldn't want their image used for profit. I see so many artists out there selling celebrity drawings on different items and doubt they all asked for permission. And then I worry that if you ask for permission they will want a percentage? Not sure. Maybe it's not worth all the hassle, but I would like to try it out. Will have to do more research.
You can't do it. It's illegal to use images not taken by yourself and the likeness of a celebrity without permission. They won't give an unknown artist permission to use their likeness as they have no idea what you will do and how you will run the business. And if they did it would probably cost you well into the thousands to get the rights. Why not offer people personalised portraits or something instead?
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Good bloke
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Ignore the previous poster. You can draw or paint who you like (as long as it isn't libellous) and you can base it on life or a photograph as long as you are nor just reproducing another's work and are using it for reference.

See: http://www.artbusiness.com/copyprobs.html

and

https://www.thoughtco.com/paintings-...guides-2573675
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doodle_333
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(Original post by Good bloke)
Ignore the previous poster. You can draw or paint who you like (as long as it isn't libellous) and you can base it on life or a photograph as long as you are nor just reproducing another's work and are using it for reference.

See: http://www.artbusiness.com/copyprobs.html

and

https://www.thoughtco.com/paintings-...guides-2573675
I sell artwork. I do know what I am talking about. Although I suggest the question asker consults a lawyer if they want to open a business based on something like this.

You can't make a profit based on the image and name of a celebrity, they own their own brand. There may be some who won't protect that but others will. You also can't copy a photograph. If it's a generic picture no one will ever notice or bother but if you have a striking scene with good lighting and well composed - that is the photographers art and you can't use it to sell your own images.

Also - there are grey areas but then it has the potential to become a legal battle and who do you think will win... some random person on TSR or a celebrity with their super well paid lawyers... Better to just stay away and create something yourself.
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by doodle_333)
I sell artwork. I do know what I am talking about. Although I suggest the question asker consults a lawyer if they want to open a business based on something like this.

You can't make a profit based on the image and name of a celebrity, they own their own brand. There may be some who won't protect that but others will. You also can't copy a photograph. If it's a generic picture no one will ever notice or bother but if you have a striking scene with good lighting and well composed - that is the photographers art and you can't use it to sell your own images.

Also - there are grey areas but then it has the potential to become a legal battle and who do you think will win... some random person on TSR or a celebrity with their super well paid lawyers... Better to just stay away and create something yourself.
This ^ there is a reason that on places such as deviantart drawings of celebrities which constitutes fan art, can't be sold as prints etc (it literally removes that option when you put it into that category)

also this thread is from 2012, person who bumped it you would be better off making a new thread
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Good bloke
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
this thread is from 2012
I failed to spot that, but sought to correct doodle_333's (continuing) nonsense. He/she seems to think US law applies in the UK. Image rights are notoriously difficult to make stick here.

https://kelseyfarish.com/2017/11/25/...t-their-image/
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