Derivative work in a portfolio / Fair use

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by InfiniteLoopy, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2010
    I'm currently studying graphic design and have a question about creating derivative works.
    As part of my portfolio, I would like to create film posters based on official photographs from a popular film. These stills would be cropped and edited in Photoshop.
    I was wondering whether it would be OK for me to include such derivative works in a portfolio published online or whether that may be unwise.

    I won't be earning any income from the actual posters as they are just examples of my work, but technically, my portfolio would be to promote my work to potential future paying clients and the stills used are copyrighted by the studio.

    Essentially, what I'd like to create is derivative fan art based on copyrighted stills, in a similar process to the Obama Hope poster, but with different Photoshop effects.

    Any thoughts on the legal aspects of this?
    Could I just indicate "original photograph copyrighted to XYZ studio" below the poster?

  2. bretm macrumors 68000

    Apr 12, 2002
    I would think its definitely illegal, but whether anyone would prosecute is a different story. However, using obvious images from others work to promote yourself isnt a very good idea. It's drawing attention to the fact that you haven't actually created anything original yourself, and to the fact that you don't have respect for others intellectual property. I'm sure neither is entirely true, it its a conclusion they could draw based on the limited details provided. I'd avoid it if possible. Indicating that the photo is copy written, but not saying its "used by permission" is just an admittance of guilt. You'd be better off leaving that out and pleading ignorance. :)
  3. InfiniteLoopy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2010
    Thanks for your reply. :)

    It's not so much the images (photographs) that I would be using to showcase my work, but rather transform them using PS, similar to how the Obama Hope poster is a PS of a photograph (even if there were resulting legal issues in this case).

    So essentially, does art like this not fall into the derivative work "fair use" category?
  4. R1PPER macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2008
    Its absolutely long as you explain the project to potential employers. Its not as if you are saying you created the originals or worked on the actual film. These projects have been going for years and most employees getting college interns have seen multiple projects like this. Arguably you are technically breaking some copyright laws, but your absolutely fine.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yes. You can read up on legality of "copyright derivative work" at:

    Completely wrong.


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