Public Domain; Copyrights & the Arts

Public Domain; Copyrights & the Arts

Public Domain; Copyrights & the Arts

Bob Dylan does not own the name Dylan.  Dylan Thomas does not own the name Dylan.  I own the website domain “Arts by Dylan dot com” as a Dylan in the world. But I do not own the rights to the name Dylan.  The name Dylan is a name that is used by many people and many parents choose to name their child Dylan.  

As a Dylan with a website who owns the words “Arts” and the word “Dylan” in it I feel an obligation to explain how Copyrights, law, and the public domain interact with each other in the world of “Arts”  The following words is an example of my writing and therefore I own them.  I do think the following words could classify itself as a “Dylan Moment” even though many many people have had a “Dylan Moment” while listening the music of a man who formally went by Robert Zimmerman. 

my website gets lost in the world of Bob Dylan Art. 

My hope is that eventually a little of that Dylan Art magic and success will rub off on this website.

Arts by Dylan Problem

The words you just read in the last sentence could potentially be a legal problem for me if Bob Dylan or his lawyers ever come across this blog post and decide that me referencing Bob Dylan does not fall under a fair use principle and violates the artistic work of one of the greatest artists of the last century. 

Because it is as if I’m attempting to steal some of Bob Dylan’s artistic work for my own commercial gain on my website “Arts by Dylan” also Bob Dylan paints and I believe sells his artwork from the domain bobdylanart dot com. Which is similar to my website Arts by Dylan dot com.  Two completely different websites but both include the words “Art” and “Dylan” in the domain.  

So far Bob Dylan and his lawyers have not contacted me regarding a potential lawsuit.  I hope they do not. 

What is copyrighted and what is public domain

Infringing on someone else’s copyright is wrong and against the law and artist should not directly steal from other artists and infringe on their copyrighted work. 

It is an artist’s job to put things together in a unique and “new” way.  Or as new as they can make it.

There some things that are not copyrighted. 

  1. Facts. Journalists who report facts can not be sued for infringing on a copyright. 
  2. Work of Government; public documents like court transcripts, potential laws, and non classified documents are not copyrighted and can be used by the public for the public.  
  3. Images taken by the government so long as you get the image from a government source like the Library of Congress.  Surveyors take photographs and those photographs are owned by the public and can be used by anyone without infringing on a copyright.  This also includes the works of Art like Posters from World War II and World War I they were intended for public use at the time and were never copyrighted by the government and has remained a public domain thing. 
  4. Recipes are not copyrighted. However there is an entire ethical problem with jacking recipes from people. “Dylan Cooks” is an uncopyrightable thing. 
    1. I’ve had garlic noodles from Than Long in the Sunset district of San Francisco.  I can not claim any ownership of that recipe.  I also can not recreate it.  That family restaurant has successfully kept that recipe a secret family recipe for 50 years.  It is only cooked by a member of the family who own’s the restaurant inside a walled off portion inside the kitchen and its the only recipe cooked in the secret kitchen inside the main kitchen.  I know this because my ex girlfriend was Asian and she tried every secret asian network to find some distant relative who was related to that family and she came up empty.  It’s well known among the Asian community in the Bay Area that that specific recipe is unstealable and can not be fully replicated exactly because they have been trying to for 50 years and have come up empty.  
    2. Vox recently posted a youtube story about L and B Spumani Gardens having their recipe stolen by a former employee who opened a pizza restaurant in Staten Island.  The mafia got involved and blood was spilled over a sicilian style pizza. 
    3. With that said I can make my own sicilian or “Grandma” style pizza using my own recipe share it on youtube and not have to worry about others stealing it or using it for commercial gain.  They can not replicate my recipes exactly, especially my pizza recipe because I grow my own tomatoes and make my own sauce, so I like to think of it as a than long thing of it being a secret family recipe unique to my artistic skills and creation.  
    4. The following fact is something I learned in a museum in Paris from an employee; it is not copyrightable and is a fact about a man and a recipe.  However the story is somewhat unique and copyrightable by me Dylan Carpowich and Arts by Dylan.
      1. I was in the Orsay Museum in Paris and was chatting with the checkout lady about how much I was enjoying my stay.  I asked her about how Parisians thing about artists “stealing” from other artists and she shared with me the fact that French people use as a “That’s Paris” type of thing.  
      2. She told me that Bechamel sauce is owned by everyone in the world and everyone can make it because it is so simple. It’s simply a roux mixed with milk.  The sauce has been made for centuries and nobody knows who invented it.  But Louis Bechemel gets credit for the sauce.  Even though Louis Bechemel was not a chef he was an art dealer who helped purchase art for the palace at Versailles he may have never even made the sauce.  But it was decreed that the sauce chef’s have been making known as cream sauce was to be named after one of the King’s friends Louis Bechemel.  
      3. The name and recipe has stuck around unchanged even though the French Monarchy died by the guillotine centuries ago.  
      4. The French Recipe Casoulette which features Duck being a known reference for a man and woman having sex is also an uncopyrightable fact that comes from the two different books Joy of Food and Joy of Sex. 
  5. All Art work before 1927 is no longer under copyright protection and is in the public domain. 
    1. Museums and Universities have posted hundreds of thousands of images of scanned artwork and can be used for commercial use. 
  6. Historical Facts.
    1. Historical facts that are not classified and available to the public are in the public domain and can be used by anyone for commercial use. Ethically it is good and legal to source your information and give credit to the place or person you learned the historical fact from.  Plagiarism is unethical and potentially problematic legally.
    2. However, the more you learn historical information by going to different places and learning a variety of things the more it becomes part of your unique psychology and knowledge and eventually you become a source for information to others.  
    3. As an artist your unique way of putting information and things together is copyrightable and unique to you and something you can use for commercial use. (Arts by Dylan is an attempt at doing this.)
  7. You can “steal” ideas and inspiration and designs from other artists.  However you have to change it to use in e-commerce.  I subscribe to a database called “Creative Fabrica” where I download designs for print on demand purposes.  However I change each design to my own liking thereby creating a “New” design or piece of art that is unique to me and my own business.  Example
  8. #7 sort of applies to many other forms of art and not just e-commerce.  For example there are similarities between the books of George R. R. Martin and J.R Tolkein but there is enough difference between the two for both of them to be considered unique and original and not in violation of infringing on the copyright of the other.  There is enough change between the two for there not to be a problem.  Even though both include dragons, little people, kings, war, good vs evil, the undead, and people fleeing across an ocean.
  9. The Spoken word is not under copyright protection unless it is fixed to a tangible form such as a tape recorder or audio recording or transcript.  
  10. “Psychology” in the non academic sense of the studying psychology is not really copyrightable. People who study and write about psychology should not plagiarize and should cite their sources because ideas that are fixed to a tangible form like a book are under copyright protection.  A patient talking to a therapist about psychology is an ethical and legal area with some protection but not copyright protection.  However two people having a conversation about psychology over a cup of coffee or a beer with no tape recorder around is psychology going on that is not copyrightable.

What is under copyright.

The work of an artist for as long as they live plus 70 years for unpublished work. 

The work of an artist for as long as they live plus 95 years for published work. 

Images taken by a photographer are copyrighted at the moment the shutter is pressed.  Unless the photographer is hired by someone and there is a contract involved stipulating the ownership rights to the images.  This contract must be agreed upon before the work is done and not after.  Also the photographs must be taken legally. 

A legal image is as follows:

  1. Street photographs that are taken from a public space, this includes people, architecture, cars, and what is visible from the public space the photograph is taken. (In the USA)
  2. Portraits in which the model gives consent and signs a model release or a contract. 
  3. If you are in another country like France to take a street photograph of someone else without their consent in the street from a public space is against the law, the photographer must first ask the person and exchange something of value.  Maybe you the photographer give them a euro or an IOU to mail them a print of the photograph in exchange for their consent for taking their photograph. 

The job of an artist is to put things together in as new and unique and individual way as they can.  The style and way in which the artist puts it together could be something that potentially could be copyrightable.  

For example; the color purple as words put together is a movie under copyright and a play under copyright protection, but the color purple as a mixture of blue and red pigments is not a copyrightable thing and something everyone can use.  But Prince using that color as part of his image and life’s artistic work is probably under copyright protection.

That last paragraph potentially could get me sued by Oprah and the estate of Prince. 

Which is something I hope does not happen. 

This Blog Post is original writing by Dylan Carpowich

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