Suppose I want to draw a horse. I don't know how to draw a horse so I buy a How to Draw Animals book and follow the instructions of the book to draw a horse. Now can I use my drawing for commercial purposes?


The book teaches you how to draw horses. Once you learned how to do it, and you draw a really nice horse, you have drawn it yourself. You have the copyright. You use it any way you like.

Of course it's different if instead of drawing the horse yourself you just make a copy of an image in the book. That would be the author's copyrighted drawing.

  • I would add that copying the author's copyrighted drawing for the purpose of learning how to draw pursuant to the book's instructional program is almost surely fair use. – ohwilleke Jul 15 '17 at 2:09
  • @ohwilleke Couldn't you also argue that since the point of the book is teaching you to draw, the author implicitly granted you a license for that purpose? – cpast Jul 15 '17 at 2:17
  • @cpast Absolutely. The line between fair use and implied license is a fuzzy one at times. But, since the law of implied license is less well developed in the case law than fair use, it is often easier to argue persuasively the issue of fair use in the gray areas where they overlap. – ohwilleke Jul 15 '17 at 2:19

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