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Stele of Revealing photo copyright question  


Duck
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The good news is that my Stele vector art is ready, but I'm now hitting a small obstacle in releasing this image "done well and with business way". Ideally I'd like to release it with a Creative Commons "CC0" licence (public domain/"copyleft"), so it would be clearly shown that anyone can use it for whatever purpose they want, commercial or not.

The source image I used is copyrighted to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo:

"http://www.egyptologyforum.org/EMC/Stela.jpg" (remove quotes if you want to load it)

I emailed them to ask permission to use it but they haven't replied so far. If I don't get a reply or if they refuse, one option would be to distort the image slightly so the lines don't line up with the original (I don't like this idea), the other option would be to try and get another source image that is definitely copyright free and make sure all the lines match this one.

Of course I didn't think of any of this when I started ( 🙄 ) as I didn't think it was a big deal but it turns out that tracing over a photo means it is a "derivative work":

https://theartistsjd.com/trace-source-imagery/

No problem if its just for private use but a shame if no-one else gets to make any use of it.

In theory one could just fly out to Cairo with a professional-quality camera and take a photo which would be near identical to the source photo, the colours may be slightly different but the lines would match if one were to superimpose the two.

My question is that though tracing over a copyrighted photo is not legit, does this still apply if the photo is of something that could in theory be re-photographed near enough identically (for the purposes of tracing over)?

Maybe @ignant666 has some suggestions.

Thanks.


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Shiva
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Oh, you've stumbled into the Pit called Copyright already and all right (or wrong, as the case might become).

Posted by: @duck

"http://www.egyptologyforum.org/EMC/Stela.jpg"

image

Photo "Copyrighted to the Egyptian Museum of Cairo" [by the photographer] no date listed. Posted by me for critical review and educational purposes because no other image exists that illustrates the subject under discussion and study, and is therefore exhibited as fair use under the copyright laws of The United Kingdom, The United States, and Egypt. No commercial dealings are connected to or associated with this scientific, religious, sociological, and educational research project.

Something along these [^] lines may be useful in your tool bag.

Yes, it is my professional opinion as a student of basic copyright law who knows nothing about what goes on in courtrooms, and neither do the copyright attorneys, until they hear the final verdict, because it's so complex, and sometimes rather subjective, as to who wins ... anyway Ordo always wins, but I think you are legitimately concerned ("legit" as in Law).

But, being a practical Virgo, I would suggest the following: There are other photos of the Stele (everybody seems to spell it Stela, including the Khem Repository). I would gather them all up and attempt that line-up maneuver. Looking at this one above, 

If you are concerned about pixel-to-pixel comparison by scientists with microscopes from the Khem Repository of Antiquities, then nothing will hope or help you. I understand those Khemish prisons are much worse than the Pit called Because.

There is also the option of NOT (a holy word) going through the altruistic motions of painting it on every barn along with a creative commons permit. Screw that, I say. 

You could also hold the present opus, pending a reply from Cairo, and set about altering the Stele/Stela so that all the lines are Horus-zontal or verti-go-AL, and all the spacings of the bars and colored boxes are on a proper grid ... you know, square all things away ... and gift it away as a hi-rez true-grid true-grit stele reconstruction.

I could go on for hours. If anything rings your Duck Bell, store it away. Other than that, wait for Counselor Ignition.

 


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ignant666
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So, this is a photo of a creative work by a long-dead Egyptian; his copyrights are in the public domain. The question is how much protection the photographer, or, more likely, the Museum (since this photo is probably a "work for hire") can expect in this photo of that public-domain work.

In the US, the current best answer in "zero protection". If the photo is an exact, "slavish" copy of a public-domain work, that adds no new creative element, but simply seeks to document the public-domain work, it is not subject to copyright protection. See here and here for discussion of the case i am basing this statement on

I cannot speak to how courts in the UK or any other jurisdiction might view this, but i think the US decision would at least be something they would have to contend with in extending copyright protection to such minimally-creative works.

And the initial decision in that case was based in part on the determination, albeit by a US court, that UK copyright law would offer no protection to the photographer, citing two UK court precedents (the later appeals decision in the case reached the same conclusion, but based on US, rather than UK, copyright law).

Most likely you are free and clear of any liability in the UK as well, but again i am no expert on UK law.

And of course this post is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship between me and any reader of this post. Every person should always get legal advice from a professional admitted to practice in their jurisdiction before doing, or refraining from doing, anything whatever.


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ignant666
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I would also argue that, to the extent Your Drakeness' work is a "derivative work", it is entirely "derivative" of the underlying public-domain work, and derives zero from any new element created by the photographer (to the extent that there are any such elements, which of course he/she would have sought to avoid in this documentary photo).

The Duck's work is also a "transformative" work, in that the end result is very different from the photograph, and involves considerable "sweat of the brow" by the creating Duck (i know ducks don't actually sweat, but this is the legal "term of art" here).

To the extent that any court might find the photo a protectable work (again i think this unlikely, but if i'm mistaken here), i think the use here is still likely to be protected by "fair use" doctrines, or their equivalent (in the UK, i believe the parallel term is "fair dealing"), and again the answer is: no copyright liability for the use you propose.

See above disclaimer.


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @duck

The source image I used is copyrighted to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo:

Irrespective of the stele itself being free of copyright, the photography is the property of the Museum, as indicated. If you've emailed to ask permission and they haven't replied, then in your position I would publish, retaining evidence of the request for permission that was not answered.

I was faced with a similar situation in 1989, when I had written to Marjorie Cameron three times for permission to publish material by Parsons in the third issue of Starfire. I went ahead and published anyway, aware that I could demonstrate attempts to gain permission from the copyright holder.


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Duck
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Thanks for the replies. I can try "nagging" the museum a bit more, so far I've just emailed them at the address shown on this page (which I assume is their new official one):

https://egymonuments.gov.eg/subportals-group/the-egyptian-museum/

I've found some other (older?) email addresses I can try, or even Facebook (I barely know how to use that new-fangled thing but I can try).

 

Anyway, getting the permission was mainly for the purposes of getting the Creative Commons licence, so I could just forgo this licence and post the Stele image anyway. If @lashtal is OK with me posting it on the forum I can do so soon (you can always take it down in the unlikely event that the museum complains about it).

 

Posted by: @shiva

set about altering the Stele/Stela so that all the lines are Horus-zontal or verti-go-AL

I will at some point make another version like this, it will actually be easier to redo the whole thing than alter the wonkiness. For example with "Hadit", in the original he is quite asymmetrical so one could just draw half of him and just copy and flip the other side to make him "perfect"


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Shiva
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Posted by: @duck

(I barely know how to use that new-fangled thing but I can try).

This attempt is titled, The Hope of Last Retort Resort.

 


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Michael Staley
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When preparing the 2010 edition of The Magical Revival, I wanted to use a colour image of the Stélé of Revealing rather than the black-and-white reproduction used for the Muller 1972 edition. At first I approached the Cairo Museum, offering to pay for a photograph to be taken for the edition. This email was ignored, and thus I used a photograph that a friend had taken several years before. As often seems to be the case when the stélé is photographed in its display case, some areas were shadowed, thus requiring some Photoshop editing of the image.The resulting image is perhaps not utterly accurate, but has a strange, compelling beauty of its own.

I was reminded of this earlier today, when going through the samples from the printers of the current reprint of The Magical Revivalprior to binding, these samples including the plates section. 


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ignant666
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Reproducing their photograph may require permission in the UK (though i doubt it), and certainly requires no permission at all in the USA. This is more likely if you are doing reproducing the pic for commercial gain, though, one more time, you are free to make a million dollars a day with the Egyptian Museum's photos of ancient works, and not pay them a red cent, here in the US of A.

But tracing their documentary photograph of an ancient artwork, and then, based on that tracing, fixing/creating all the parts that are obscured/non-existent in their photo, in order to create an original line art/color artwork, that is not a photograph-- you just don't need their permission, and are highly unlikely to be sued, and any sue-ers will lose.


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @ignant666

Reproducing their photograph may require permission in the UK (though i doubt it), and certainly requires no permission at all in the USA.

It's my impression that the copyright of the photographic image (as distinct from the material being photographed) rests with the photographer, unless the photography is a commissioned work in which case the copyright of the photographic image rests with the commissioner. This has very likely been tested in court, though I'm nor aware of any such cases.

Many years ago (early to mid 2000s) I agreed to someone commissioning the photographing of my pictures by Spare for their archives. I was given a set of the images, and somewhat naively thought that I could do as I liked with them. Thus I started posting them in the Galleries here at LAShTAL. The person who had commissioned the images complained - not to me, but to the admins at LAShTAL - that their images were being posted without their permission. The administrator pointed out that the complainant only had the images in the first place because I had permitted the photography, but this argument was water off a ducks's back and the LAShTAL admins felt they had no choice but to remove the images from the site.

 

 


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Duck
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Posted by: @shiva

There are other photos of the Stele [...] I would gather them all up and attempt that line-up maneuver

Hmm... you have given me an idea which will probably be a solution to this problem should I not receive a reply from the museum. You may remember a few months ago in another thread I mentioned that I was making a "composite image" by layering all the photos of the stele I had found on the internet. I could dig out this file and make some changes and even add the museum's photo to the mix (suuurely that counts as fair use, most of it will be hidden among all the other layers).

The most common photo of the stele on the web seems to be this one:

stele front large

Its what I was originally using till I found the museum's one. The quality isn't that great and its far too yellow.

I made this simple animated gif to show the comparison between this one and the museum's one:

You can see one is distorted in comparison to the other. Different lenses cause different amounts and types of distortion, I'm guessing the museum's one is the more accurate one (or it just looks better to me, Nuit looks less "squashed").

Another way of showing the difference:

distortion2

Here layered in "difference" mode, so showing "that which remains". If the 2 images were identical, they would both disappear into black/0/ain. Looks pretty cool though.

 

I looked at the EXIF information of the museum jpg, it was taken in 2009 on a Nikon D90 which was a mid-range DSLR camera. It had 12 megapixels and I see that its modern equivalents have 20MP these days. Its likely the museum will re-photograph their stuff at some point with more up to date tech.

 

Posted by: @michael-staley

thus I used a photograph that a friend had taken several years before

Your friend may or may not be whoever took this album of stele pics in 2007:

https://imgur.com/a/gVt8A

 

The lighting isn't great but there a some interesting shots from different angles, one even showing the mysterious number "4784" (count well its name, you may get a nice surprise 😉 ).

 

Posted by: @ignant666

and are highly unlikely to be sued, and any sue-ers will lose

Thanks, that's good to know. Its not so much about releasing the image but about giving it the Creative Commons licence, if I don't get the official "seal of approval" from the museum I'll skip this step and just post it.


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Jamie J Barter
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Posted by: @duck

 

 

"... It shall not fade, but miraculous colour shall come back to it day after day"

(For a proof to the world?  For the time being, anyway...)

Abrahadabra!

Norma N Joy Conquest


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Shiva
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Posted by: @jamiejbarter

"... It shall not fade, but miraculous colour shall come back to it day after day"

Frater Aquarius told us the Stele was painted with paints whose color was produced by ground-up precious gems. That's why it'll never fade.

I don't know if this is true, and I have no evidence, but it's an interesting concept.

 


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lashtal
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Posted by: @duck

If @lashtal is OK with me posting it on the forum I can do so soon (you can always take it down in the unlikely event that the museum complains about it).

I would be delighted to have it posted on these forums - your 'work in progress' updates have been most impressive.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Duck
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Posted by: @shiva

paints whose color was produced by ground-up precious gems

Posted by: @shiva

I have no evidence

I was reading about these pigments while researching Egyptian art. Its true they did sometimes use ground-up gems along with natural pigments, so its possible Ankh's stele has some of this gem-dust. Only scientific analysis would tell us for sure. I think they also used a type of varnish on their art that maybe one of the reasons the colours are well preserved. They also invented the first synthetic pigment, "Egyptian Blue", which might even be what was used to colour Nuit in. (who knows...)

I've been meaning to make a post on these colours in the "Identifying..." thread and shortly will.


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Jamie J Barter
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Posted by: @shiva

Frater Aquarius told us the Stele was painted with paints whose color was produced by ground-up precious gems. That's why it'll never fade.

I don't know if this is true, and I have no evidence, but it's an interesting concept.

Was he suggesting that there was something special about this particular stele, or stating that (all) the other stelae(?) produced around this time were also made of ground-up gem paint also?  And if he was suggesting the former, do you happen to know what (scientifically) led him to that conclusion?

Apart from the connection with A.C., there doesn't seem to be anything particularly unusual about the stele which seems to have been a fairly unexceptional and common representative of others which were around at that time.

Also, I can't quite see why ground-up gems (presumably lapis lazuli more than anything else?) will produce a result which'll "never fade" (or anything like it)... so much, then, for impertinence impermanence!

N Joy


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christibrany
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@jamiejbarter

From a scientific standpoint, I was thinking similar. 

If you ground up a gem it does not mean it is water soluble. You'll just have a crusty paint that when it ages will have 'faded spots' with bits of sparkly coloured bits. Looking odd but I guess not terrible.

Unless...it was ground SO fine that all the little bits looked like normal pigment to the normal eye. 

 

But as Shiva said, it was not proven, just stated. 


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djedi
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Posted by: @shiva
Posted by: @jamiejbarter

"... It shall not fade, but miraculous colour shall come back to it day after day"

Frater Aquarius told us the Stele was painted with paints whose color was produced by ground-up precious gems. That's why it'll never fade.

I don't know if this is true, and I have no evidence, but it's an interesting concept.

The predominant pigment was Egyptian blue, used from about the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2639 to 2504 BCE) through to the Roman period (332 BCE to 395 CE) (Riederer, 1997, p. 23). To make the pigment, scrap copper or bronze was mixed with crushed quartz sand, lime, and a soda flux and heated to about 850–950°C (Titeet al., 1987), producing a mixture of cuprorivaite, CaCuSi4O10, silica phases such as quartz, tridymite, or cristobalite, a copper alkali-bearing silicate glass, and occasionally incorporating a copper oxide phase, such as cuprite,Cu2O, or tenorite, CuO, and some unreacted bronze fragments (Schieglet al., 1989).

Egyptian blue as a pigment preparation usually comprises small crystals of cuprorivaite and a glassy phase, a copper-containing wollastonite,(Ca,Cu)3(Si3O9), which tends to be sensitive to various decay processes (Titeet al., 1987; Riederer,1997). The crystal structure of Egyptian blue was elucidated by Ford and Hitchman in 1979, and was further refined from a single crystal of Roman origin by Mirtiet al.(1995), and shown to be a four-coordinate, planar ligand structure.

Scott, David A. "A review of ancient Egyptian pigments and cosmetics." Studies in Conservation, vol. 0, no. 0, 2015

The crushed quartz sand accounts for Frater Aquarius's "precious gems," I would imagine.

@duck, be sure to include an image of the uncolored Stele with your post if feasible, for the Aleister Crowley Coloring Book.


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Shiva
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Posted by: @jamiejbarter

Was he suggesting that there was something special about this particular stele?

He mentioned gem-paint in relation to Ankh's stele, but ////////////////////////////////////////i got the impression that it might be applicable to many stelae in general. It might have depended on the wealth of the deceased.

Posted by: @jamiejbarter

there doesn't seem to be anything particularly unusual about the stele which seems to have been a fairly unexceptional and common representative of others which were around at that time.

I have found this to be so. I find that the bars with the little colored boxes don't line up parallel, which (to me) hints at fast work or mass production, certainly "lined-up" by sight and a steady (or tilted) hand.

Posted by: @jamiejbarter

will produce a result which'll "never fade"

Yeah, but setting Anicca aside, because nuthin' lasts, it seems reasonable that ground up gems will resist fading better than, say, vegetable dies.

Posted by: @christibrany

If you ground up a gem it does not mean it is water soluble.

Nobody said it was gem-dust and water. water-soluble paint would be hard put to get through an Aeon of any kind.

Posted by: @christibrany

Unless...it was ground SO fine that all the little bits looked like normal pigment to the normal eye. 

This was my impression. But water? I would suspect they had better binding solvents.

Posted by: @djedi

a copper alkali-bearing silicate glass

Thanks for the "evidence." Now I see we're into heavy metal(s) as well.

Posted by: @djedi

Egyptian blue was elucidated by Ford ...

Ford also elucidated Midnight Blue. You could buy a Model T in any color, as long as it was Black. Actually, it was Midnight Blue, also known as Indigo.

 


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Duck
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Posted by: @shiva

I would suspect they had better binding solvents.

(Duck) eggs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempera


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christibrany
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@duck

 

Aha.

It's all in the 

image

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Duck
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You've probably noticed how hard egg yolk can dry when you've left some dirty plates lying around.


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Shiva
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Posted by: @duck

how hard egg yolk can dry

Oh, yeah. Good binder for quartz/gem dust.

 


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Duck
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Posted by: @duck

I mentioned that I was making a "composite image" by layering all the photos of the stele I had found on the internet

OK, here is an early version of this composite image. It still needs a lot of work to clean it up, but its promising.

composite

 

(just posting it for good luck 🙂 ...)


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