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Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Okay my heat proof suit is on and zipped up tight.

I would hope this has all been said before but just in case it hasn't.... I can't figure what the fuss is all about. The original picture was nothing if not generic in the sense that anyone could have shot it and most anyone would not have thought it a keeper unless they had nothing else. With the work the other guy did it made for a poster kind of image. Who cares?

No flames from me. To me it's a clear case of a "derivative work" which is specifically protected under Fair Use. The Obama poster is just the kind of creativity that copyright law is designed to NOT suppress....


My problem with those who practice "appropriation" is that they rarely acknowledge their sources and the viewer is left to assume that the artwork is entirely their own creation. To a non-artist like me there is a world of difference between "original composition" and "copied from a photo". A bit of intellectual honesty wouldn't go astray and admit that your work is built on the work of others.

Mike, IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), but aren't derivative works usually covered in copyright notices? Like, "you cannot use this work or create derivative works from it".

Off the top of my head, fair use covers news reporting, criticism, satire... and that would be all I can remember right now without checking.

Dear Mike,

To save everyone a lot of wasted brain energy, you might want to post the URL's of the previous articles you wrote.

The particulars of the case, copyrightwise, haven't changed, and those got pretty thoroughly discussed back then. Plus, I recall a link or two to some really excellent legal analyses of the merits of the case (which is not easy to evaluate-- this is absolutely a borderline case).

Not trying to discourage anyone from commenting, but most of us have better things to do with our time and energy than reinvent a wheel. Personally, I said everything I wanted or needed to last time around.

pax / lazy Ctein

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