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I'm not asking about a specific case, but I'm interested to know about the general principles that would cover the following scenario:

A CGI artist makes a tutorial on how to design and make a digital render of an object: let's say, for instance, a doughnut. Another creator lawfully (i.e. having bought it or watched it on a free platform) follows this tutorial and, based on that, makes a digital render of a doughnut, but this time laid on a different plate and with differently colored sprinkles, that they intend to sell to a client for a commercial publication.

Because of the digital nature of this artwork, it's possible that, by following the steps very closely, the core part (i.e. the doughnut) will be extremely similar to the one created by the author of the tutorial.

If this scenario is not clearly mentioned in the tutorial's T&C (if any), does the buyer/follower of the tutorial have the rights on the work they created?


PS my doughnut example is based on a popular free tutorial targeted at amateur users of a CGI software, Blender. This tutorial has been followed many many times.

  • Hello! Welcome to Law.SE. Please read our tour page. – isakbob Nov 14 '19 at 18:47
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The tutorial's T&C's are only secondary, copyright starts with the law.

It's generally accepted that copyright protects creative expressions regardless of talent or training. Yet some creative works are more valuable than others because of talent and training. That value is a business matter, not a legal matter. The tutorial helped the artist in training, in the example, which is only expected. Copyright law doesn't grant any derivative or additional rights to the tutorial creator.

A specific exception exists in some jurisdictions for creative works directly created as part of an education, under supervision of the teaching institution. In that case, there is an active involvement of the institution with the work created. That exception would not apply for a video tutorial. There has to be human involvement with the work while it's being produced. A video tutorial is one-way communication, and there's no human interaction.

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