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I'm working on an icon of a framed painting. I would like the painting to be immediately recognizable to the intended audience, and so am considering doing a stylized reproduction of a particular painting from scratch to include in the icon. The original painting is copyrighted. Is there any legal problem with doing this?

  • Just to check: are you sure the original painting itself is in copyright, rather than a particular photographic reproduction? – e100 Nov 26 '12 at 13:27
  • Yes, the painting itself was created some time in the last few decades and is copyright the artist. – Hilton Campbell Nov 26 '12 at 15:52
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Stylized or not, reproduction of copyrighted work is derivative and subject to the legal issues that brings. So short answer... No, it is NOT okay.

You would be better off using a painting already in the Public Domain.

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  • While I agree, "It's not OK" is perhaps a bit too broad. It certainly may be OK, but it does open you up to the potential for legal problems. – DA01 Nov 26 '12 at 16:27
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A similar topic has been covered here:

Is vectorizing an image copyright theft if the image is not CC/Public domain?

Short version: Likely to not be OK.

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