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Apples and Artists?

What is the difference between apples and oranges? Who owns the rights to your own work? How far can copyright infringement go?

If there was an apple tree in a field and my neighbor pointed it out to me, does he own rights to that tree because he saw it first? What if I gathered apples from the tree and baked a delicious apple cobbler with them? Would he have rights to a serving of that cobbler because he showed me where the tree was? One could say, that out of moral obligations, I should share the cobbler with the neighbor who pointed out the tree. I wouldn’t argue with that either, but there are no applicable laws that state that I must legally do so.

As I understand things, the United States technically holds jurisdiction over all the land within it’s boundaries (excluding reservations) and each state holds it’s own jurisdiction as well, trickling down of course, to local property owners. Does this mean then, if I were to paint a rendition of Mount Rushmore, that the state of South Dakota would own my painting or perhaps, the United States government? Why would this be when I am the one who would have put all my hard work into the painting after being so inspired by such a monument available to public viewing?

If someone creates a rendition (their own version) of a famous artists work to honor that particular artist then, does that artist have the right to claim any part of that work? The person may have been inspired by the artists work and may well have based his or her own work upon the the art of another but, the work this person produced is his or her own rendition, is it not? It was created by their own hand wasn’t it? Would that be any different than being inspired by a blossoming flower to write a beautifully worded poem about it? Who would own the poem? The writer would own it, wouldn’t they?

I am puzzled then, as to why there is such a case being presented in the courts today where one artist was inspired by another. I would be one of the first to applaud anyone for standing up for themselves on the grounds of copyright infringement but I wonder, how far does infringement go? In they eyes of the law when some takes a picture or writes an article or such, they do indeed own the copyrights to that material. What happens though, when that some one’s work inspires another some one to create their own piece of work of equal beauty? Has that person infringed on the first persons rights? How so? I also wonder, if that person who took the picture truly feels there was an infringement, why would they wait nearly two whole years to file a claim in courts about the alleged infringement? It would only make sense if the person with the picture had never seen or heard of the piece of work they had inspired up until that time. It makes even less sense to me because of the fact that there were multiple people inspired by the same motivational factor to produce many renditions, not only of that picture, but of many others as well. Should everyone who took a picture of our current President, before he became our President, be filing claims of copyright infringement then? Should the person holding the rights to one particular picture also file a claim against everyone else who was so inspired by that same motive? Then by all means, let the Presidents mother, who I’m sure had the first picture of her son, stand up and fight first! She would have more rights than anyone else in such a matter wouldn’t she?

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