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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I paint in watercolour. Among my interests is creating wildlife

Resolved Question:

I paint in watercolour. Among my interests is creating wildlife pictures which are based on photographic images taken from all sorts of sources including books and internet images. There are usually more than one sources for each painting so the original source is not "reproduced" in its entirety anywhere. Nevertheless I am concerned that I am not infringing the rights of the creator(s) of the original material. can you advise please
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.



If you have a produced a new painting with a number of these pictures painted in to this new painting, then the new painting itself will have its own copyrght (Copyrights Design and Patents Act 1988. Essentially you will be producing a new work.


Copyright law is designed to stop people from taking another's work and passing it off as their own work. As the author of the new work you have the moral and legal right to prevent derogatory treatment to the work. Using a picture as an one of a number of inspirations/sources to produce a new piece of art in its own right would not amount to derogatory treatment and therefore you would be very unlikely to have infringed the copyright owners rights.


If you have found this useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my efforts. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask further questions.


Kind regards,






Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I think I have the gist of your advice - that I'm probably OK to do what I do without being at risk of infringing the rights of the creators of the source work that I am using. I'm a bit confused however about the concept of "derogatory treatment". You say that I have "the moral and legal right to prevent derogatory treatment to the work" - which work? mine or his? and who decides whether what I have done is derogatory?
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.



Both the photographs and your have their own copyright and therefore both copyright owners (you and the photographer) have the right to prevent derogatory treatment.


Were some crazy far-right racist group to use the picture (or your painting) on their website then this would be derogatory treatment for example.


A court would ultimately decide if a particular act constitutes derogatory treatment, an alleged infringer would probably be contacted by the copyright owner before a case was issued.


I hope this makes things a little clearer you, if so please kindly click accept.


Kind regards,



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