Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Infringement or Appropriation?

Recently there has been much discussion with my peers regarding copyright infringement, when is it OK to "reference" another artist work. Where do you draw the line on copying reference too closely? Should you get permission? Should you give credits? Once the work is created (copied) can you sell it, sell reproduction rights to anyone, can you even register the copyright of a slightly changed image? Well that's a lot to discuss and I currently don't have the time to go into detail with all of it but I wanted to make some points and share some links about it here.

Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant and the famous Obama Poster is getting some criticism about infringing on other artist rights.

Learn more about it here from a critique by Mark Vallen.

I can't say that everything that Fairey has done has been fair use. But I believe most of the political stuff is perfectly legit.

From the words of Julie Mueller Brown: "He "appropriates" work from older styles and changes it to fit his agenda, he is anti-capitalistic and makes reference to early socialism posters. Its perfectly legit!

Mike Lowery says "I say he's legit. The whole point is that he work references old propaganda in a way that strips it of its message and content. It's the same as Liechtenstein's comic paintings or Warhol's diagram paintings, no?"

Rick Lovell sees this as a great opportunity to learn about what right and wrong. I whole heartily agree!
"There is clearly a great deal of debate among artists, art historians and attorneys about appropriation and it's implications. This entry on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriation_(art) (not the most scholarly source) is the tip of the iceberg, but it shines a light on an age-old dilemma about what art is, and what is art."

Steven Heller of the Daily Heller comments about this showing other interesting appropriations of art in his 02-11-09 post.


Now here is a case where copying is done on the sly and is wrong.
Comic Book illustrator David Mack has traced his way to fame.

Todd Goldman has many infringements to his name.

There is another infringement issue I would like to mention but it's still too fresh since it happened today and hits home. Ask me about it.

So the next time you use reference think again about if it's appropriate or not.

Here are some resources to consider to learn more.

What is Copyright Protection?

Stanford Copyright and Fair Use

10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained


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