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I had done some views for an architectural contest.

Because of this, i decided (stupidly) to get in the risk (if the architect won, i would receive the bill)

Even with this condition, the stupid here ask a relative low price.

But it was ok...

The problem is that i asked a condition to the client...i would enter on risk at the contest but the images could be used only for this case. If he wanted to use it on books, portfólios, he would pay a diferent price.

Again the stupid here forgot to make him sign the proposal during the work (the deadline was very short) and now he is contesting it, saying that HE has the rights of the images (This was his design...ok) and i would have to ask him to use it (like posting it here)


So, what do you think of this, guys?

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Usage rights and copyrights are a product of national laws, generally. Were you in the United States you would have all the rights and he would have little to none in the situation you described. But what are the laws of your country?


As favorable to artists as the US laws are (and that is only because the people who wrote the US Constitution specifically put in language to encourage the rights of authors to their work, which ran contrary to how the French were doing things around the same time--result--a nation of inventors, authors and artists was born (end of nationalistic rant)) your country is likely a party to the Berne Convention which goes even farther to protect artist's rights than US law.


The basic question would logically come down to this: Who created the art? (You) By what written (or verbal?) instrument are ANY rights transfered to this architect? In other words, "show me where I signed ANYTHING to you". He has not paid you any money, what could he have bought from you?


I would advise that you do what you like with your own artwork and then decide how to handle the architect--either ignore him if he uses the images or try to stop him from doing so. But do not take my writing this as legal advice--I am not a lawyer, and certainly not in your country. But I think it would be safe to say that you should put your position in written form and deliver to him a copy.


Good luck

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Thank you very much for you comment Ernest :ebiggrin:


I dont have the intention to initiate a legal fight with him...i only wanted to keep the thing with advantages for both sides.

I this case, i wolud make some views for a low price (architects here arent the most rich profession) and he would limit the use of the images to the contest.

But he keeps convinced that, if he design the building, he have the rights to the images.

I´ll only, gently, refuse his ideas, and not do anymore, because (i dont know if in you country the things are the same) the architects are very united and this can turn something bad for me.


I asked my business partner to hit me with a baseball bat if i try to enter on a contest again :(


PS: im learning to avoid work for architects (they dont draw very well, changes things everytime and sometimes (very usual) dont pay...


PS of PS: im dot intend to be agressive with architects, im almost one...just an autocritic... ;)

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simply because the rendering is of a bldg he designed, does not give him the rights to the rendering. if an artist does a painting, and that painting has a bldg in it, the owner of the building can not claim the rights to the painting. i am not sure how this works if the artist was commissioned to do the painting.


...which leads me to something that i have been curious about. i am employed by an architecture firm, and i am paid a salary for the renderings and animations i do. what are my rights to reproduce the work i do in portfolio form? i assume the firm i work for owns the rights to the image, but i think it is in the copyright laws that i can use this work for portfolio purposes. can anyone help clarify this for me, or even point me to the area in the copyright laws that might deal with this.

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This is so complicated....

I was once an employee of a company that do only renders...one thing they keep clear was that the image rights were for the company.

But i didnt refuse it because their images were worse that mines :D

I think this is something to be negociated by both sides considerating that you are using their equipment, their structure, so in this case i think the company have the rights...

just my 2 cents

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simply because the rendering is of a bldg he designed, does not give him the rights to the rendering.
This get's interesting. No, it would not give him rights to the rendering, but it could give him rights to prevent you from using it. {In the US} There is a test that the view must be reasonably available from a public location, and that may mean exterior location. The limits on an architect controlling images of their otherwise copyrighted design revolve around BUILT designs. The law is vague on how to interpret UNbuilt structures shown in artwork by someone other than the designer/architect.


I think that you generally have some rights to use work for portfolio purposes, but anything you do in the course of regular employment is 'work for hire' unless you have an agreement that states otherwise. As such you are not the author of the work--your boss is--and you would not be able to claim any author's rights.


Check out US Title 17--aka copyright law look at Chapter 1, subs 106, 106A and 120 in particular.

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That is a uncomfortable situation your in. Ernest hit the nail on the head! Also a nice discalaimer, he knows his stuff.


The one thing about doing business-sooner or later you have to think like a lawyer to survive. A lawyer would say "contract!, contract!!, contract!!!". Takes away from some of the purity of design work, huh?


People can say & do anything thing they want, whether intentional (screwing you) or just a mis-understanding of laws and or an agreement (signed or implied). The burden is really upon the party who needs to recieve, the benefit or monies owed. And in your case the implied threat of what would happen if you used those images. This puts the the advantage to those with the deepest wallets.


Check out your Countries, local province, copy right laws and some legal reviews and possibly cases similar to yours. If the law allows you to use the images legally, the choice is yours.


PS of PS: im dot intend to be agressive with architects, im almost one...just an autocritic
Don't feel you need to be submissive to gain acceptance or avoid consequences. Be firm and most of all respectful.


State your case, based on Law and accepted practice, verbally and in writing. Sometimes it's like playing cards, poker. Calling his bluff. You may have more to gain than you think. His position with the money may remain the same, if owed. People who wheel and deal like this can see a freebie, from a mile away, or so it seems.


But you will know and you need to know, what his actions will be, if you use the images. Or by stating legal facts of the situation, get him to back off. Of course you will give him total credit for the design :D


This eneded up being kind of long winded. But I hate to see people in these situations. I've been there in many ways, shapes and forms. Some good outcomes, some really bad. They would have been bad anyway.


It's a really big, big club. Sorry to say welcome, but take a stand that you can live with, win or lose. Your going to be an architect, this is part of the Architectural Proffession (business) that most Colleges only teach in thier Schools of Business.




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Ernest, WDA

thanks for sharing opinions, they were very important for the reply i sent to the client.



If you could share with us your experience i will be glad to read it...we can learn a lot with this


Again, thank you all

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In the netherlands it works like this:


Author right are ALLWAYS with the maker of the renderings, doesn't matter if you work for a company. This is what we call intelectual rights. The copyrights are for the company you work for, so if you would like to use those pictures for your ONLINE (means public) portfolio then you have to ask the company for permission.


As to doing renderings under a contract ALL right remain automatically with the maker. That also means copyrights. Why? Cause they are artist impressions!!! Its your own impression of a design by an architect or whatever (yep, just like a painting). Photographs however, are a clear and realistic snapshot of reality, and here in the netherlands you HAVE to mention the architect, when you publish those photographs. And you have to mention the photographer's name.


Hope this helps a little...

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If you could share with us your experience i will be glad to read it...we can learn a lot with this


I was commissioned to produce an illustration for an architect a year or so ago. They came back to me a month later to ask if I could amend it to reflect some design changes. Unfortunately I couldn't meet their deadline, and so that was the end of the conversation. about 2 months later I was walking past the site where the proposed building would be, and low and behold there was my image on a huge Hording for everyone to see. Yippee, Wo Hoo and all that...but wait, hang on there's something weird about it. It was my original image with amendments made by someone else and my signature removed!!!


To cut the story short, I had advice from a man in the know, and wrote to the architect pointing out that I own the copyright of the image, and that just because I couldn't undertake the amendments, they had no right to commission others to do it without my knowledge or permission.


They effectively passed the book and blamed the developer. But they were acting as the developer's agent and were also responsible. Their wrists were severeley slapped.


This was some time ago now, and had forgotten about it...until, I came across this website by an architectural visualisation firm in Scotland (you know who you are)who had the very same image on their website, promoting it as there own...my signature replaced with theirs!!!!!!!!! I insisted they remove it imediateley, which they did, but they seemed to think that because they were doing something that others had asked them to do, that they were innocent! I have been told by a legal guy that I have a case for copyright AND Fraud!

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We do have similar situation everywhere, especially in my home country in Indonesia.

Clients rarely have respect on copyright issues. :mad:


As a artist, we do have rights on our artwork, whether it is cg visualization, paintings, or photography. In whatever work we do, all images produced will have joint copyright between us (artist), the designer (architect), and the client (developer).

The designer / clients have all rights to be credited on your art publications.

So whenever we want to update our website content, we always contact our clients for permissions and give them a html or pdf preview of what is actually going to be published.


In some cases, developers / architects often engaged in highly classified projects (usually in an invited competition or a development of sensitive project)which are not to be disclosed to public until it is officially released.

Then the artist have to respect the non-disclosure agreement and not publish the images until it was given permission to. (We have several times had to take an image off our website because of this)


But that is only for NORMAL situation when your client PAYS your visualization fee.

Some cases are when your client refuse to pay for anything and try to get away with it.

If this happens, we take full claim of the image (and sometimes the design as well if we are the architect) and publish it everywhere, in cg forums / magazines / books (we still give credits to the client of the project) for our own marketing purposes.

Hey, whatever you do must generate income, right?

It can be a direct income as fees or as advertising product for future clients. ;)


Btw, dibbers.

We do have (perhaps) a similar situation, only we are on the other side. I have client once ask us to produce image for them, but they only give a photomontage with another cg firm already done a building on it to work on. This client want us to do a 3d of office behind that other 3d. (2 artist working on one photomontage).

This makes us confused about the copyright.

The problem is that the other 3d is not a good quality so we have to tweak it out in photoshop to make it more representable, otherwise the overall montage will look really funny, and the client has no complaint about that.

We haven't publish the image anywhere as we are not sure about the copyright. Any advice? :confused:



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Another issue of copyright here...


We have more than one experience that we have to finish a 3d for some development where the client has previously given the job to another cg artist.

When the client give us the sample of what the other has done, it is truly shocking to see that this other company has stolen our bitmap people and cars (we model our own 3d cars way before RPC comes, and it is so obvious when someone stole your 3d lowpoly) and use them as their own. What makes it even worse, they even use one of our 3d for background. (I know because it is one of my architecture design as well)

It really drives us mad !!

Someone must have given them one of our high-res images we give to our other clients for printing publication purposes and just crop the images from there.


The cars / background are really our own design and our copyright, so we can pursue them for this.


Now, what is the copyright issue of your bitmap people?? We don't really ask permission from those people we took pictures of (although we took great care to shoot only the back and sides, and if we are to shoot the face we only use it 3-6 months after to make sure fashion and hairstyle will have changed during the period to make it harder to recognize for privacy issue).

But when you photograph them and crop them out, do colour correction, and it is the SAME bitmap that use Star Wars Episode 1 T-Shirt with same pose, believe me, you will know when someone else snatch it and use it as their own.


Does copyright covers this?

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The problem is that the other 3d is not a good quality so we have to tweak it out in photoshop to make it more representable, otherwise the overall montage will look really funny, and the client has no complaint about that.


I always make it a point not to work on any image done by other visualisers (partly because I think I can do a better job from the start--rightly or wrongly!)but also because of copyright. I think If I was faced with your situation now, I would make the client aware of the issues first and get him to agree that he will pay you to do it all from scratch, or get permission from the other visualiser.


The big problem is, that because it's easy to alter images digitally in house, these people think that means it's OK to do it!

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Totally agree with you. That is the first and the last time we'll do that.

Difficulties is that we have tight deadline to do the whole lot, and that background montage image came in very late as a nice surprise.


We might retake the photo and just re do the image without the other building for our own portfolio. Avoiding the copyright issue altogether


As for the cars/background.... no, we won't pursue it legally, I'm thinking of meeting and just confront them to teach a bit of copyright.



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