Dear James,

I am intrigued by your extreme, personal tale of infringement.  Is there any way I could see your original and the product that stole it?


barrett klein
Department of Biology
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI

On Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 9:26 PM, James A. Perkins <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
For decades, many art schools taught their students that there was a magic formula, some percentage by which you could modify an existing piece of artwork to make it your own and avoid copyright infringement.

Unfortunately there is no such formula or percentage. If you think about it, there's no way that such a formula could exist. What does it even mean to say that an image has been changed by X percent? If I redraw half of someone else's image, but leave the other half exactly the same, is that a 50% change? If I take a digital image into Photoshop and change the colors using Hue/Saturation, I can change the color of every pixel in the image, even though the image looks basically the same. Is this a 100% change since the value of every pixel has changed? (Side note - an infringer did exactly that to one of my illustrations and claimed it as his own). There simply is no way to define what is meant by changing an existing image by a certain percentage.

So how do you know if a new image infringes an existing image? There is one fairly simple criterion you can use. If you can tell that the new image was derived/redrawn from an existing image, it's infringement. In order to avoid infringement, the new image must be created entirely from scratch and there should be a paper trail (background research, other references, sketches) to prove it. You can never simply redraw an existing image and claim the new image as your own. You must create something original. You may use the existing image as a reference, but it should never be the ONLY reference. 


James A. Perkins, MFA, CMI, FAMI
Professor and Graduate Director
Medical Illlustration
Rochester Institute of Technology

Sent from my iPad

On Oct 2, 2015, at 5:58 PM, Jorge A. Santiago-Blay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Entomo-Listers

When authors send me papers for publication, I try to remember to remind them to ask permission to reproduce images from the owner of the copyright. Whether non-human or human entities, an email is generally all it takes to say "yes". Yet, sometimes money needs to be transacted or the reply is "no" or no reply at all is available.

My question is, if one cannot get permission, how different does the new image have to be to be considered as "different" from the previously published one and be free from the concerns of copyright violations. 

Your anecdotes (whether personal or from someone else) as well as constructive suggestions,will be welcomed. Please send them directly to me at: 

Apologies for potential duplicate emails.



Jorge A. Santiago-Blay, PhD

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