I'm an active participant at an online art group. People have been posting scans of their pencil drawings and making them available as prints that people can purchase. No problem so far. However, these drawings are of copyrighted works (photographs of celebrities from magazines and websites). From what I know, these are considered derivative works and because these people don't have permission from the copyright holder, they are infringing (not to mention in violation of privacy laws). Am I right in this case, or is drawing from copyrighted photographs (and then selling prints) not infringement?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Derivative works.
Assuming that the original works are indeed protected by copyright, simply making an unauthorized pencil copy of anotherís protected work would likely be an infringement. Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a derivative work.
More Examples of Derivative Works:
Television drama (based on a novel)
Motion picture (based on a play)
Novel in English (a translation of a book originally published in Russian)
Sound recording (long-playing record in which two of the
10 selections were previously published on a 45 rpm single)
Sound recording (long-playing record in which several of the previously released tracks have been remixed with new instrumentation)
Sculpture (based on a drawing)
Drawing (based on a photograph)
Book of maps (based on public domain maps with some new maps)
Lithograph (based on a painting)
Biography of John Doe (which contains journal entries and letters by John Doe)
Drama about John Doe (based on the letters and journal entries of John Doe)
Words and musical arrangement (arrangement is based on a piece by Bach)
Musical arrangement (based on a work by Bach)