If I draw an imaginary character and use a photograph as reference for human body/pose, is that legal, copyright-wise? Let's say I change the hair and the face? I know it needs to be 80% different, but not sure how much % a figure pose is worth. Basically, the pose is the only thing that would be the same.

Country I'm in (for laws): USA

(posted this on arts and crafts originally, but they said it's better posted here)

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    As far as I know, that "80% different" rule is a myth. – Philipp Oct 13 '19 at 20:42

If I draw something, having been inspired by looking at some other thing, you are not copying that thing. If you carefully copy something even if you are also deliberately changing features of the original, then you are copying. Copyright law gives the copyright holder the exclusive right to make copies. There is a difference between copying music and visual art in this respect, since music can be reduced to a small set of specific symbols, so "being inspired by" a musical work is often found to be infringement. The difficult part is legally distinguishing "making a copy" versus "being inspired by". The courts use a subjective test of "substantial similarity" to decide if there has been copying. the case of Mannion v. Coors. "Pose" is an element that is considered in assessing similarity: the question the court would ask (itself) is whether such a pose could ever have come from elsewhere (such as, your own creative efforts).

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    And there is no rule of 80% – George White Oct 12 '19 at 22:38
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    There was a bogus "rule" amounting to a non-ignorant educated guess on the part of academic publishers that 10% was "fair use", which is now history as of Cambridge v. Patton. – user6726 Oct 13 '19 at 1:40

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