Los Angeles, CA – Recently, with the rise of Shepard Fairey and Thierry “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta, appropriation art has become a major “thing.” Not since the days of Warhol has it been so hip to take works from other artists and add your own vision, spin, or angle to create a “new” piece of art.
In legal jargon, we call such pieces “derivative works.” A derivative work is a work that builds upon an underlying work that someone else earlier created.
Legally speaking, most appropriation art pieces are infringing unless: (a) the artist for the derivative work owns the underlying work and the derivative, (b) the artist for the derivative work gains the permission of the owner of the underlying work to use the work, or (c) the use of the underlying work is so minor, or the derivative work so greatly transforms the underlying work, that the use qualifies as a fair use*.
Below are a few examples of appropriation art. The artist attempts to “transform” the underlying work by adding her own expression. Do you think it qualifies as a “fair use” under prong (c) above?
As a hint, perhaps you can recall (or Google) the lawsuit filed by the AP photographer against Shepard Fairey for his Obama “Hope” piece. How did that one go?
*fair use is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, which we will cover in a future post.
I’m all for creative people honing their skills by using various mediums, photography, tutorials, brushes, etc so long as it helps them to finally produce a piece of work that is original, unique and entirely theirs.
However, for a while I’ve been annoyed with the works of UK ‘artist’ Peatree Bojangles. (http://www.peatreebojangles.co.uk) She seems solely interested in taking existing photographs,often by well established photographers, adjusting the levels a bit and drawing over them slightly and then passing them off as her own and selling them on her site – every single one has no mention of the original photographer of the works or any mention of copyright.
Personally, I don’t think this is on. Here’s just a few examples:
I’m tired of seeing stuff like this with no information of the original photographer, and when you see that money is being made off the back of this, it gets my back up. What do you say YTWWN?