It’s Saturday already and that means it’s time for Mel Harrison’s latest APPart article and this week Mel highlights a very important and potentially controversial issue regarding copyrighted material and the usage of it within your own artwork. Mel’s main frustration is with an app that she did not want to name but having written to them myself, several times and having received no reply I felt that perhaps we should, the app that Mel is referring to in this article is Paint FX and it is one of her favorites and one that she has used for a lot of her artwork to date. I’ll let Mel take it from here, over to you Mel (foreword by Joanne Carter).
“One of my favorite apps, recently included a web search mode within the app, this concerned me greatly because I felt it encouraged people to use possibly copyrighted material in their art work. My main concern with it is that from within the app artists have no reference to the original content, it can’t be credited if needed, nor can copyright status be checked. There was not even a pop up warning that images from that section could be subject to copyright restrictions. I was even able to create a ‘fake’ of one of my own images inside the app. I found this all very concerning.
I would have boycotted this app out of principle but unfortunately there is not another app available that does what it does, and it is an app I use on all my images. The developer is aware of my concerns and will hopefully address the issues in the next update.
© Mel Harrison – The Admiral
My vision is to see artists who use iOS (or Android for that matter) app based tools being not only accepted by the mainstream art world, but to have our images acknowledged as a Bonafide art form, not a novelty or a gimmick. We need to move beyond the perception that all iOS art is created by taking a photo and pressing a button for a filter. To achieve this iOS art needs to be innovative, creative and treated respectfully by the artist.
Please keep that in mind when accessing web content to include in your work. There are several places that you can access copyright free or pay for a license to use content.
I generally avoid using web content but in my latest image ‘The Admiral’ I had a specific look I wanted to achieve. To do this I needed a map to blend into the background. I actually used the app I mentioned above to blend the map into the image but I did not use their web content option to find it. I left the app, went to Flickr Creative Commons and looked specifically for an image with no known copyright restrictions…this is not something you can do within the app itself. I am not an expert on copyright law by any means but I do know even ‘no known copyright’ does not cover all eventualities which is why I do prefer not to use web content in general.
So please before you use any web content in your images, do a little bit of research. Give your art and the iOS art community the respect it deserves”.