There is a very disturbing trend in the "Business of Art", a new way of copying artists work and profiting from it without any recognition or compensation to the artist. It goes under the guise of being a "paint party studio". The premise behind this type of business, which can be legitimate and a fun way for family and friends to go out and get in touch with their creative side, is to enjoy an evening out and learn how to paint a particular image in a few hours that you can then take home with you. Each class can be anywhere from a handful of patrons to a room full, upwards of 50 people, learning how to all paint the same painting.
Typically the artwork that is being "taught" has either been created by the teacher themselves, the owner of the establishment or licensed to be used by another artist who then receives royalties and copyright recognition of the original artwork. But, what is beginning to happen, as this type of business is becoming immensely popular, is that the owners of the paint party studios begin to look for "inspiration" for new artwork to teach from. Unfortunately, far too many of the owners go to "Pinterest" or "Google Images" and simply take images directly from these and other online sources and teach a roomful of people to paint artwork wholly created by another artist. The owner or teacher claims it to be their original idea and at no time do they bother to contact or give recognition or compensation to the original creator/artist of said artwork.
Not only is this in violation of U.S. copyright laws (Under 17 U.S.C. 504) and illegal, but it's immoral to take another artists work and claim it as your own and profit from it. These are all "For Profit" businesses and not the same situation as a class where you are learning to paint different techniques and styles such as in college, so the "Fair Use" copyright code simply does not apply here. This is more like "paint by numbers" that is fun and enjoyable to the patrons, but, in many cases, harmful to the artists whose work is being illegally profited from.
As an artist who is continually fighting these establishments, who repeatedly take my original art and claim it as their own, I have finally got to the point where I can no longer sit back and wait for it to happen again, as it surely well. It needs to be brought to the public's attention that many of these companies are not doing business legitimately or legally, and at the expense of artists striving to make a living with their art.
If you are interested in taking a class at one of these studios, please make a simple inquiry prior to signing up, and ask them where they get their art from and that you are aware that sometimes artists work is stolen without compensation or recognition to the artist and you don't want to support that kind of behavior. If these companies know that they are being watched and "policed" to prevent this from happening it CAN make a difference.
Please support artists who are trying to make a living with their art, it's not an easy career choice by any means. It takes a lot of creativity, imagination, hard work and endless hours of marketing to make a living as an artist. So, every time someone steals an artist's work and doesn't compensate them they are taking money out of that artists pocket and going against all the hard work and effort that artist has put into their livelihood and passion. It is also very damaging to an artist's business to have no control over who reproduces their art, where it is displayed, who is profiting from it, etc, it is bad for business and an artist's brand.
Below is just one example of my own art being copied in a Wine and Paint Party Studio out of New York without my permission or recognition/compensation in any way. There is NO question where they got their "inspiration" from, this goes far beyond inspiration and is a direct copy of my painting.
This is an illegal copy situation of my original copyright registered painting "Dreaming in Gold"©.
I, and many other artists license our work to a very reputable Paint Party Establishment that respects the rights of artists and provides us with recognition and compensation for the use of our art images: Uptown Art, with locations across the country and more coming soon. Please know that if you frequent Uptown Art paint parties you are helping to support living artists and having fun at the same time!!
Here are some great resources on both what is and isn't in the "Public Domain" and whether it is or isn't okay to copy and sell someone else's art. As more come available I will add to the list and be sure to share with me any pertinent information you have as well, in order to help fix and prevent this out of control copyright infringement issue.
Another great blog post by fellow artist Alex Colombo on: "Inspiration of Infringement"