Is Taylor Swift a ruthless legal vulture with Indiana Jones - Temple of Doom fiery-ruby eyes?
just kidding :)
In my phone game, I'd like to have pics/icons of everyday objects (sketches) in scenes for a points collection aspect. (and for level advancements)
If I do my own black and white sketches from images I find of Taylor Swift, or Metallica or Jimi Hendrix, or even an elephant, television, car, or an outline of Bolivia, cobweb..
What legal nightmares might I be heading into? Are original outlines of copyrighted images, or close interpretations (my own outlines) of them a path to the guillotine?
Is there a good way in photoshop to generate an amazingly creative approximation of a picture?
For an elephant, I might want icons something like this :
or of Jimi
But that's if you say "Taylor Swift" with an image you drew. If you are using images that are similar, but not clearly identifiable as one person (i.e. it's a blond singer, but could be one of several people) then you should be fine because it's no longer an image of Taylor Swift. But you're a good artist, so yours look pretty identifiable - which is a problem. Even if you were walking a very careful line - close but not actually illegal, just being sued would cost you a fortune in legal fees, even if you won. So don't push the envelope.
You can read more about the legal issue here:
There's of course no problem using an image of an elephant or other objects as long as you created them. If you're just applying a photoshop filter to somebody else's art - that's a different issue and again you can run into more trouble. In that case you'd be violating copyright law, which is a whole different matter.
From a practical standpoint if your game doesn't do well nobody will care. But if it actually takes off, it will show up on somebody's radar and eventually they'll come calling and you don't want that to happen.