Saturday, April 18, 2015

When is a Copy Plagiarism and Not Copyright Infringement? (Update 2)

Jörg Colberg asks about the difference between plagiarism and copyright. He points in particular to the ongoing disagreement between Vancouver photographer David Burdeny and photographer Sze Tsung Leong. Jörg has written about this before, but his exact question was more in line with “what recourse does the first photographer have against the second?”

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YouTube Won’t Block Video Artist

Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote to YouTube this past Tuesday, asking YouTube to reconsider its removal of the art work of video artist Amy Greenfield. According to EFF’s website,

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US Post Office Use of Sculpture Not Fair Use


This is huge. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rightly decided that the US Post Office’s use of an image, based on a copyrighted sculpture, was not fair use. As a result, the Federal Circuit’s decision holds that the US Post Office is liable to the sculptor and remands the case back to the trial court so that damages may be determined.

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Christie’s Sued, Allegedly Misidentifies a Titian

David Dickson and his sister Susan Priestley, who unearthed Titian’s alleged painting, Salome with the Head of St John the Baptist, in their family home 20 years ago, accused Christie’s of breach of duty or negligence. They claimed that fine art experts at Christie’s failed in their commitment to competently “research and advise” on the painting’s value when it was put up for auction with a guide price of £8,000-£12,000 in 1993. The paingint was subsequently put up for sale by Sotheby’s for a guide price of $4- $6 million after being identified as a Titian original.  According to The Telegraph, “the two parties reached a settlement in principle. The terms of the proposed settlement were not disclosed.”


Is Change of Medium Still Copyright Infringement?

It was in Rogers v. Koons.

Professional photographer Alex Brown believes a couple of sculptors, who go by the name of littlewhitehead, have copied one of his photographs. Apparently, Brown never gave consent for littlewhitehead to use his 2007 photo, Sad Vader, to create their own sculpture piece, Spam. The Blog of The British Journal of Photography has been covering this story, and even got a response from littlewhitehead regarding this conflict.

We didn’t know the photograph had been taken by a professional. But for us the photograph was only the starting point for our work. We were never interested in finding out who had taken the original, that was irrelevant to the working process. The fact the image already had such a large web presence is what made the image important to us. …We contacted Alex immediately after hearing of his concerns and asked if there was anyway we could deal with the situation amicably.

What do you think? Compare the two. Brown’s photo is the top image; littlewhitehead’s is the bottom image.

(Alex Brown photograph. Click to enlarge)
(LittleWhitehead sculpture. Click to enlarge)

Artists Protest Beijing Art Zone Demolition

A group of artists including Ai Weiwei staged a brief protest in the center of Beijing yesterday against the demolition of an art zone in the east of the capital. The artists gathered on Chang’an Avenue, the main road through Beijing that crosses Tiananmen Square, at about 3 p.m. local time to show their discontent over the demolition of the Chuangyi Zhengyang Art Zone in Chaoyang district. Via Businessweek.


Why Is Copyright (Suddenly) a Hot Topic for Artists?

The last few years have raised important copyright issues and concerns for artists. There are three main factors which have impacted–and will continue to impact–how visual artists relate to each other, to art institutions, and to other intellectual property right holders when it concerns issues of copyright.

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