Copyright and Monet

I’ve mentioned before that I’m working on a 3D game. I’ve got a question about one of the figures that I made for it the other day.

Part of the play takes place in a bank, and so I’ve set about creating a set of 3D objects that you might encounter in a bank - including some snazzy framed pictures to “hang” on the walls.

I went down to the living room, and photographed some things we have on the walls and used them to make the objects for the game. Among the things I used was a reproduction of a painting by Monet.

Granted it is only 256 pixels wide, am I heading for copyright problems if I use this thing? For now, no one can see it except me - but I hope to one day reach an audience of millions (yes, swollen head syndrome is rampant around here.)

If there is a copyright problem, who would I talk to to see about clearing it up? The repro was bought at a museum in Paris - if I remember correctly the museum is in the house he lived in.

Very hard to say.

Monet died in 1926. Anything he created prior to 1924 would be in the public domain if they had been copyrighted in the US at the time they were created.

However, it’s possible that the museum copyrighted the image some time after it was painted (I’m not sure if a painting is subject to copyright law if it’s not printed on something like a postcard). You could, in theory, get in trouble for taking the image from the postcard, but they’d have to prove it was their image.

Here’s a possibility: see if the image is at The Artchive. Then, it should be OK to use.


I should have mentioned, the picture is this one:’s_House_at_Argenteuil.htm

It seems to have been painted in 1873, so that helps.

It gets more complicated, though. The repro was bought in Paris, but printed in Italy. I’m in Germany (but hope to reach an international audience,) and the original would appear to be in Chicago.

Messy all around. Maybe I ought to just use something else - although I really like that picture and wanted to do something a little more cultured than you normally see in a 3D game.

I meant this one.

I hope that comes through OK.

As long you do not leave Germany there is no problem. Monet has been dead for more than 70 years. Therefore the original Picture is in the public domain in the EU no matter when it was created.
In addition to that exact photographic reproductions of two-dimensional originals cannot be copyrighted in Germany.
Apparently plain reproduction is not considered a creative act reqired for (German?) copyright.

Unfortunately I have only found a german page quoting a decision by a federal court in Germany. I know that for most of you that page won’t help much, but believe me, I did not make that up :slight_smile:

Of course this is only valid in Germany but for now there should not be any problem.

Vielen Dank. Dass hilft schon viel!

Thank you, Kellner. That’s a BIG help.

It looks like I get to keep my Monet. Yippee!

Übrigens - ich wohne in Meisenheim. Ist nicht all zu weit von Saarbrücken entfernt.