There’s a fine line between fair use, copyright infringement, and downright theft. And while some might argue where exactly that line stands, “rephotographer” and appropriation artist Richard Prince just got a Federal Appeals Court to take his side in what may turn out to be a landmark ruling regarding fair use. Read more…
The debate rages on: should appropriated Google Street View photographs be considered art? There are quite a few artists and photographers out there who think it should be. Photographer Michael Wolf was awarded Honorable Mention for his curated screenshots at the World Press Photo 2011. Photographer Aaron Hobson takes screenshots and turns them into gorgeous panoramic photos. Jon Rafman’s screenshots were picked for an exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
Now here’s another case that might cause a lot more head-scratching: photographer Doug Rickard‘s Street View screenshots have been selected for the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Shepard Fairey has spent the past few years fighting a messy legal battle with photographer Mannie Garcia and the Associated Press over his use of a portrait of Obama his iconic HOPE poster. He has raked in a significant amount of dough from the artwork, but may now face jail time for foolishly attempting to destroy evidence when the copyright infringement investigation began. The Smoking Gun reports,
[...] the Department of Justice has filed a memorandum arguing that a prison term for the 42-year-old artist would be “appropriate.” However, prosecutors did not specify how long Fairey should be incarcerated (though, statutorily, his punishment would not exceed six months). Additionally, government lawyers have contended that Judge Frank Maas could fine Fairey up to $3.2 million.
[...] Levy stated that Fairey reaped significant reputational and financial benefits from the Obama “Hope” image, which was created in early-2008. The prosecutor specifically cited the escalating combined profits of three Fairey companies, which grossed $2.93 million in 2007, $4.59 million in 2008, and $6.08 million in 2009.
Fairey has already admitted that he deleted digital files and created fake ones in an effort to avoid the copyright infringement case that was being brought against him. Fairey agreed to pay a settlement to the AP in early 2011, but continues to maintain that his appropriation of the photo was fair use.
Young artist Scott Blake‘s article about his altercation with photographer and painter Chuck Close starts with a simple question: “When one of the world’s richest living artists orders you to stop making art, you do it. Or do you?” It’s been two years since Close, who is referred to in the article as “the wealthy bully,” put a stop to Blake’s Chuck Close Photoshop plug-in by threatening a lawsuit, and Blake still hasn’t managed to put what he sees as the injustice of the whole situation behind him. Hence, his article. Read more…
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
Yesterday we reported that artist Richard Prince had just lost a copyright infringement lawsuit against a photographer he appropriated images from. Here’s an interesting snippet from an interview with Prince in which he shares his views on this matter:
Copyright has never interested me. For most of my life I owned half a stereo so there was no point in suing me, but that’s changed now and it’s interesting. I’m actually in the situation where I am being sued at the moment (by a French photographer I might add) for taking his original images and turning them into paintings. It’s something that’s really problematic for me because in a strange way now I find myself censoring things that I look at and it’s almost like I can’t do it anymore, because people know who you are. So sometimes it’s better not to be successful and well known and you can get away with much more. I knew what I was stealing 30 years ago but it didn’t matter because no one cared, no one was paying any attention. It was an attitude to do with the fact that I didn’t think there was a future.
Update: The ruling has been overturned, and a judge has ruled that Prince’s usage is fair use.
Richard Prince, the artist who “rephotographed” a cigarette advertisement and had it sell for more than $1 million, has just lost a copyright infringement lawsuit after being sued by photographer Patrick Cariou. Prince had taken 41 photographs made by Cariou from the book Yes, Rasta, modified them in various ways (sometimes minor), and displayed them at a gallery exhibition as his own work (above is one of Cariou’s photos on the left with Prince’s piece on the right). The exhibition went on to generate over $10 million for Prince and the gallery.
Fashion photographer David LaChapelle is launching a lawsuit against Rihanna over the controversial music video for her song S&M. LaChapelle alleges that “the music video is directly derived from and substantially similar to the LaChapelle works” and that it copied the “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” of eight of his photographs.