Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Artist Autobiographies and the Private Details of Others

Many times artists will write, and publish, their autobiography. I often get asked by artists if it’s ok to disclose private details of their lives if it includes private affairs and details of others (lovers, parents, children, friends, co-workers, etc). This is a highly complicated issue and one that usually, as with fair use, ends with the answer, “it depends.”

Attorney and blogger Mark Fowler has just posted a nice and succinct article, Can You Tell Your Own True Story Even If It Impinges on the Privacy of Your Lovers, Friends, and Family? regarding just this issue on his blog, Rights of Writers. Check it out.


Graffiti Artists Know Copyright Too

While on my morning stroll to the nearby Espresso Bar, I encountered this poster near my home. I quite like it. You see, generally, artists–particularly graffiti artists–tend to get copyright law all wrong. However, this young chap–or gal–got it right: ideas are free. Copyright law doesn’t protect ideas, but merely the fixation (materialization) of those ideas. God bless Williamsburg dissidents.


Applying Copyright’s Fair Use Through Semiotics

H. Brian Holland, Associate Professor of Law at Texas Wesleyan School of Law, is publishing Social Semiotics in the Fair Use Analysis in a forthcoming issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. I haven’t had time to read it yet, but here’s a bit from the abstract.

This article presents an argument for an expansion of fair use, based not on theories of authorship or rights of autonomy but rather on a theory of the audience linked to social practice. The article asks, in essence, whether audiences determine the meaning, purpose, function, or social benefit of an allegedly infringing work, often regardless of what the work’s creator did or intended. If so, does this matter for the purpose of a fair use analysis based on a claim of transformativeness?

You may access the article here.


Wha Wha: Judge Drops Claims Between Shepard Fairey and AP

It’s bad enough that we’re going through a remake of the Jimmy Carter years, and that last night the BCS gave us a boring “championship” between two dismal and B-rate football teams (read: no Texas, Alabama, or Florida). Tonight we get another snoozer.

Reports just in indicate that the much anticipated legal battle between Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press has come to one limp conclusion.

A judge has dismissed copyright lawsuits between an artist who created the Barack Obama “HOPE” image and The Associated Press but has left a March trial date in place for related claims between the news service and companies that sold merchandise using the artist’s image.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in a one-page order publicly filed Tuesday that a “suggestion of settlement” led him to dismiss claims between artist Shepard Fairey and the AP. He said the claims could be reinstated within a month if either side requested it.

UPDATE: January 12, 2011
The AP has just released a statement concerning their “pending” settlement.

Press Release

AP and Shepard Fairey announce agreement in Obama poster case

The Associated Press, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Fairey’s companies Obey Giant Art, Inc., Obey Giant LLC, and Studio Number One, Inc., have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise.

Mr. Fairey used an AP portrait photograph of Mr. Obama in making the Hope poster. Mr. Fairey did not license the photograph from the AP before using it. The AP contended that Mr. Fairey copied all of the original, creative expression in the AP’s photograph without crediting or compensating the AP, and that Mr. Fairey’s unlicensed use of the photograph was not a fair use. Mr. Fairey claimed that he did not appropriate any copyrightable material from the AP’s photo, and that, in any event, his use of the photograph constituted a fair use under copyright law.

In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP. The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential.

“The Associated Press is pleased to have reached resolution of its lawsuit with Mr. Fairey,” said Tom Curley, president and CEO. “AP will continue to celebrate the outstanding work of its award-winning photographers and use revenue from the licensing of those photos to support its mission as the essential provider of news and photography from around the world. The AP will continue to vigilantly protect its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use.”

“I am pleased to have resolved the dispute with the Associated Press,” said Mr. Fairey. “I respect the work of photographers, as well as recognize the need to preserve opportunities for other artists to make fair use of photographic images. I often collaborate with photographers in my work, and I look forward to working with photos provided by the AP’s talented photographers.”

The AP’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Obey Clothing, the marketer of apparel with the Hope image, remains ongoing.

For more information, contact:

Paul Colford /Jack Stokes
Media Relations
The Associated Press


Whitewashing the Art World: What’s Behind the Climate of Censorship

In her article, Whitewashing the Art World: What’s Behind the Climate of Censorship, the New York Observer’s Alexandra Peers tackles the issues of censorship and silencing that seem to be all-too-pervasive.

The art world has a reputation as free-thinking and tolerant, if not overly so. But in recent weeks, there have been several instances, far more than usual, of alleged censorship involving some of the bigger names in the field. What’s going on?

Charles Gaines has also written about this very same issue, and so have I.

What is going on?


Court: Attempted Murder Is Not Performance Art

Here’s a great example as to how anything can be art and yet still be illegal.

A court struck down an appeal by Belfast’s most notorious militant to overturn his convictions on Thursday, dismissing claims he only brought weapons to parliament as props for a piece of performance art.

Michael Stone carried an array of weapons to parliament in 2006, including an ax, three knives, a strangulation cord, seven homemade grenades and a small bomb. He claimed all of them were props in a cutting-edge piece of performance art and he had no intention to kill anyone.

Via The Seattle Times. Some analysis on this here.


Feud Between Malanga and Chamberlain Heads to Court

Gerard Malanga will finally have his day in court after a longstanding legal feud with the famous 81-year-old sculptor John Chamberlain over a contested silkscreen that may or may not be the work of Andy Warhol.

Previous entry on this story here.

Via Artinfo.


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