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Topic: Copyrighting a style?  (Read 612 times)
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oddtraveler
« on: July 14, 2006 10:16:54 AM »

I've just started refining this very specific style for bags, custom portraits, etc. - basically I take a face and section it up by light/dark areas and then transfer the "map" to whatever surface I'm using, then paint it in with the same lightness or darkness, but with no regard as to what color it's "supposed" to be (i.e. the shadow area under the nose becomes dark purple, the highlight areas of the hair become neon green, forehead shine becomes a nice pastel blue, etc.).  It has a very specific look to it but I have yet to paint out enough faces to try copyrighting this style on individual faces (such as a face mapped Elvis). 

My main concern is the style, as I'm afraid it won't be to hard for someone to duplicate this process and start stealing the concept, so what kind of precautions can I take so that doesn't happen?  (Other than the fact that it's obnoxiuosly time consuming...)  Is it even possible to copyright a style/process, or would it only be possible to copyright each painted piece?  What are the rules if I, say, paint an Elvis in this style, copyright the work, and someone else comes along and does the same process with Elvis, but, because of colors or slightly different mapping theirs comes out a little different, but you can tell that they're basically just copying the idea?  Like, what does Keith Haring do so there aren't just a bunch of Haring-esque wannabes mooching off his easily recognizable style?  Or, can he do anything about it?

This is just like the first completely original, not influenced by anyone else's work (at least, not consciously) idea I've been able to call my own that I've been really proud of, and I don't want lots of other people bogarting the style! Thanks for any help you might have...
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CraftyChef
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006 09:08:57 AM »

I'd say it was more a patent type deal as a technique rather than a design, though I'm certainly no expert. As far as style goes you might have some difficulty, particularly if "Elvis" is a part of the design.
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oddtraveler
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006 07:54:11 PM »

Oh no, I was just using Elvis as an example of a face I might do.  It could be literally anyone's face.
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rebeccaks
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2006 12:13:43 AM »

sorry to say, but us crafters rarely ever come across a brand new idea. chances are you aren't the first to want to sell these items.
if i understand you correctly, the type of portraits you do, i've done before in graphic design class. i'm fairly certain that you can't patent or copywrite an art style (take the many "inspired" andy warhol prints of campbell's soup or marilyn monroe. we all gain inspiration from other pieces, so there is a fine line for some people between inspired and copied.
i don't mean to be a bummer though. i'm certain that you make an amazing product, and i do encourage you to plan to create more and even sell. do you have any examples of your creations? perhaps i'm completly wrong interpreting your description.

good luck! the legal stuff is the most confusing and frustrating part of starting a business. Smiley 
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