PetaPixel

Photographer Victorious in Copyright Lawsuit Against Graffiti Artist

Turns out turning photographs into stencils isn’t transformative enough to be defended as “fair use”. In a case that has many similarities to the Shepard Fairey vs. AP legal battle, a judge ruled earlier this week against graffiti artist Thierry Guetta after Guetta (AKA Mr. Brainwash) had used a “stencil-ized” photo of Run DMC by Glen E. Friedman to promote an exhibition, concluding that Guetta’s piece didn’t differ enough from the original image to be considered fair use.

What are your thoughts on this issue? How much does a photograph need to be transformed before it is considered a new piece of art?

(via Boing Boing)


Image credits: Photograph of Run DMC by Glen E. Friedman


 
  • http://esoterik72.net Christopher 

    I say that any artistic/photographic work used as a whole OR IN PART needs to give credit to the original artist/photographer. No exceptions.

  • http://esoterik72.net Christopher 

    I say that any artistic/photographic work used as a whole OR IN PART needs to give credit to the original artist/photographer. No exceptions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tatyana-Skymyrka/723478596 Tatyana Skymyrka

    Anyone remembers Patrick Cariou vs. Richard Prince?
    http://jpgmag.com/news/2011/03/photographer-wins-copyright-lawsuit-against-artist-richard-prince.html

    to be honest, I am all for copyright upholding, but also a tad weary that derivative works, which generally are the basis for all creative process are arrested in development.  If I was a photographer, I personally try to avoid the lawsuit in this particular case.  Although, I can completely understand why the suit was filed in a first place.  Bottom line here is art vs. profit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tatyana-Skymyrka/723478596 Tatyana Skymyrka

    Anyone remembers Patrick Cariou vs. Richard Prince?
    http://jpgmag.com/news/2011/03/photographer-wins-copyright-lawsuit-against-artist-richard-prince.html

    to be honest, I am all for copyright upholding, but also a tad weary that derivative works, which generally are the basis for all creative process are arrested in development.  If I was a photographer, I personally try to avoid the lawsuit in this particular case.  Although, I can completely understand why the suit was filed in a first place.  Bottom line here is art vs. profit.

  • http://www.photoshumi.com Danny D

    Appropriation in the art world is nothing new and made famous by Picasso when he said “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.  If Mr.Brainwash were to make a stencil and spray an underpass, I doubt G.E.Friedman would care but put anything in a gallery and the circumstance and environment changes and it’s all about branding and dollars.  I think this is a complete rip off of Friedman’s work and has no place in a gallery and is also a good win for him.

  • Anonymous

    I think there’s a very clear derivative work, but that’s my opinion.

    There are guidelines for considering whether it’s fair use, and it doesn’t look like it passes because it re-appropriates a single piece of copyrighted work almost entirely, and for personal gain.  But it’s up to judges to determine that, and that’s the real crap shoot sometimes.

  • http://www.pouriolee.com/ pourio

    mr brainwash is a moron.

  • Jason

    It’ll be interesting to see if this helps other photographers mentioned on here lately that have had their works appropriated by Gap and Old Navy (allegedly).

  • Newsline

    The bottom line here is theft if an artist is worth anything then they should be creating and not stealing other people’s work.
    I am all for taking action against these pretend artists people who have no qualms about taking something someone else has created and pretending it is their own original image.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tatyana-Skymyrka/723478596 Tatyana Skymyrka

    andy warhol didn’t “steal” although would most likely be sued if what we’re seeing here was a standard practice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lezko Peter Ležovič

    hard to tell… I’m wondering if some architect could sue me after taking photo of building he designed. What do you think?

  • Confuzzlebot

    Guessing you’ve also watched Exit Through the Gift Shop.
    Too true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vin-Divan/602313655 Vin Divan

    It’s a copy, obviously, doesn’t matter if the media is different.  If I can recognize the derivative image in whole, it’s an infringement.

  • http://twitter.com/bradywilliams18 Brady WIlliams

    I’m in the middle, I think attribution is necessary, it is a derivative work after all, but I don’t think he should have to license it from the photographer.

  • Anonymous

    do think it is kind of odd to make a lawsuit on which the subject is allegedly done to not make profit. .. but who knows, it seems to have exploded.

  • http://www.article19.co.uk/ Article19

    what are our thoughts on this issue? dudes, you’re the ones writing the blog how about you stop trawling the internet to cross post stuff and do some photography writing? this “blog post comment bait 101″ crap is on nearly every post!

  • Burpator

    Actually, they could – either them or the owners of the building. If you just take a photo for yourself then fine, but if you use the photo comercially and profit from it, in most countries they would have a strong case against you if you don’t have written permission (similar to a model release).

  • othersideoflens

    this doesn’t seem very punk of glen e. friedman. anyway, I don’t get how photographers end up with so much control, isn’t the subject more important than the person taking the photo. It’s not glen who makes the photo cool it’s Run DMC, and Guetta isn’t really ripping off Glen as much as his borrowing interest from Run DMC. As as former punk musician, my band’s live performances have show up in a number of photographer’s books not to mention art shows 
    I signed no release, and in a couple of cases was never asked permission, I guess I could sue, but what’s the point? 

  • Aracelisdiamantis

    “because it’s like that and that’s the way it is, huh”

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  • MASAMBADIOP

    Well is an interesting and a little dificult tip ” Graffiti ” copyrigth, I think if the same author would make a Paint or Mural and after that he sell his creation in a Gallery ( for example ) he would have rights over that work, but if he make a griffiti, stencil, or just paint ilegally on the streets, trains, trucks, etc,etc,etc he do not right to claim for copyright because his art become in a “public” art, ( Excuses for my terrible english )