Tag: sand sculpture displays

Intellectual property rights for sand sculptors

Intellectual property rights for sand sculptors

Recently, by way of a few online forums, I became aware of an issue that I thought was in need of some serious attention. As a professional sand sculptor I have become used to having photographers of every skill level taking photos of my work. Until recently, I never gave it much thought about where those photos would end up or even for what purpose they may be used. Many of you reading this have undoubtedly at one time or another received an email containing photos of several of the coolest sand sculptures ever created. The lingering question that remains is, who exactly holds the intellectual property rights to these photos? I hope to clear up all the confusion surrounding this complicated topic

Intellectual rights In almost every instance it is the photographer that owns the intellectual property rights of his or her photos. The confusion seems to arise when those photos contain works of art. When a photo contains something that is protected by copyright law such as a painting or sculpture it can not be reproduced without permission from the creator of the painting or sculpture. Even if only a portion of the painting or sculpture appear in the photo, permission still may be required. There is no set standard on how much of the work appears in the photo. The key  factor is something referred to as “substantial part”. If a recognisable element of a sculpture is featured on a photo no matter how small, permission for use is required.

Some exceptions If a photo is used for a news story or as part of a critique then no permission is required for  one time use. Additionally if a sculpture or work of art is on permanent display in a public area then there are no restrictions set on commercial use. This rule does not apply to works of art on temporary display.

Known violations You may think that professional photographers are the biggest offenders of these rights. The truth is that professional photographers are well aware of copyright and intellectual property law. Many of them have been exposed to the same infringement  as the artists and sculptors I have mentioned in this article. With the age of the cell phone camera and photo sharing sites like Flickr and Facebook it is not only the average person but also a horde of internet entrepreneurs that have taken the top honors when it comes to copyright infringement. There are currently no less than two dozen iPhone and Android apps that contain unauthorised use of professional sand sculptors artwork. In addition get rich overnight bloggers regularly steal these images from Flickr accounts to attract more visitors to their blogs.

Stop the abuse I’m not advocating a massive class action law suit to put an end to this rampant abuse of intellectual property rights. There are easier ways you can help put a stop to this abuse and protect your intellectual property rights. To report violations in the Android market follow this link. To report violations to the Apple market follow this link. The best way to protect yourself as an artist is to be aware. Try doing periodic searches on the internet. A good search term is “sand sculpture calendars”, another is” sand sculpture photo books”. If you find any evidence and feel your rights may have been violated, try contacting the author or publisher directly. It never hurts to try to settle these disputes out of the court room. If you feel you are not getting any results, it may be time to contact a copyright attorney. The next time someone asks to take a photo of one of my sand sculptures I will kindly say, “yes, for  your personal use only.” If someone is thinking about using my work for profit, hopefully this will kick-start the necessary conversation…One Grain at a Time.

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Earth Day: Responsible Marketing

Earth Day: Responsible Marketing

With Earth Day just  a couple of days away. I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about the benefits of sand sculptures  and their use in conventional marketing. If you’ve tuned into any recent sporting event or awards show on television or attended one in person, one thing is glaringly visible. Every where you look you see signs and banners of corporate sponsors. The reality is that these events rely heavily on contributions of these sponsors to survive. In exchange, event organizers agree to prominently display the corporate identities of their sponsors. The most  common way to give a sponsor recognition is the use of vinyl banners, billboards or backdrops. While these banners certainly do the job of showcasing the sponsors logo predominantly, they are far from Eco friendly.

Consider if you will a banner created entirely of sand. These sculptures are literally works of art that display the corporate identity in 3 dimensions. Not only do sand sculptures  attract more attention than a conventional banner, they are  one hundred percent environmentally friendly and completely recyclable. Sand banners or sand displays give you so many more options due to the very nature of the material. Entire display areas open up opportunity for photo opps as well as product placement,  not to mention the additional media exposure related to these amazing  works of art. These displays are not by any means restricted to the beach and can be created in virtually any location, even indoors.

Sand sculpltures do not compete with conventional banner displays and are not meant to replace them all together, however they do offer event organizers new and exciting options for sponsorship fulfillment. Because the sculptures are not portable they must be created on site with imported sand. Careful thought must aslo be put into placment of the sand as it can be affected many enviromental conditions such as high winds or heavy rain. That said, as long as you are working with a reputable professional sand sculpting company, they will have immediate solutions for almost any logistical issue that may arise.

Even though sand sculpture is technically a  temporary art form, completed sculptures can last weeks, months and even years in certain circumstances. Events that could benifit from these unique displays are movie premiers, sporting events,( baseball, football volley ball, motor sports,) music festivals and many more.  So this Earth Day make a note to consider using sand sculpture displays at your next big event and by cutting down on the vinyl and ink, you will be doing something good for your planet.  Your sponsors will  aslo thank you for the added exposure that only sand sculptures can offer.

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