I read where a painter on flickr posted one of his paintings, and in the comments, mentioned he copied the picture from a photo in a magazine. I realize, if he doesn't sell it, there isn't any harm. He mentioned doing another one and selling it. Along with all the comments people mentioned - it was a neat pic of a guy hanging an American flag out on the porch of a B&B... apparently the artist was complaining that he'd entered it in some online 'pick the best piece' thing, and his didn't do so well, and he was going to take it down and resubmit it, it's a great fantastic painting! and I thought, "maybe the viewers caught the part where you copied the image, and refused to give you credit"... I was going to say something but he probably would have hunted me down and had me beheaded. The first thing I thought was "not much of an ego there, slick?" then figured, since it was an exceptionally well-done painting, that anyone interested in viewing artwork and voting on it, wouldn't have credited him since he copied it. My question is: Had I said anything, what are the copyright rules to such things? I didn't know just what to say.
When I go to a workshop, the instructor insists we use our own photos. Any published photos - calendars, say, or in a magazine - have been specifically chosen as good photos because everything works i.e. composition, lighting etc. whereas if you take your own photo, the instructor can teach you to work with a less than stellar picture (like I take). It's all part of the lesson. So if this guy had hired a model, or got his sister or dad or someone to pose for him like I've done before, and went through that aspect of setting up the scene, working out a composition etc. the painting would have been more his work, and not just an example of his ability to apply colors to a canvas. So, even without copyright infringement, to me the artwork also includes planning the scene etc. and that had been done for him with someone else's photo.