Thursday, August 20, 2009

Talking About Copyright

2 weeks ago, Julia of Book By Its Cover had posted a sad story about a graduate student from Falmouth University in the UK named Samantha Beeston had stolen one of my favourite artist, Lauren Nassef's drawings and used them in her own work. She even won an award from Texprint, which should have already been revoked by now, for pattern designs filled with Lauren’s drawings which she claimed as her own. She incredibly went out of her way to create a fake sketchbook too. Wow! A thorough rip-off of one's hard work.

With the help of her copyright lawyer friend, Julia has came up with some answers about copyright protection. Though some of them, to my understanding, are floating in grey area - no hard and fast rules. But roughly you get an idea.

Below is an example of fair use Parody

This is a spoof ad for a Naked Gun film featuring star Leslie Nielsen’s face on a look-alike of photographer Annie Leibovitz’s famous photo of a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Another artist, Björnik, also one of my favorite, are facing similar problems. At the SGTCC held last week, I did ask him why he put his hand on all his "older" artworks showcasing in Deviantart that, in my opinion, not only did not really fit in, but somehow "spoilt" the pieces. He told me the whole idea was to prevent others from using his artworks without his consent. There were 2 cases that someone, representing an agency?, was trying to get a much higher resolution of his works thru email. But later he found out that the 'actual' recipients are kids at 17,18. Fishy, right? Anyway, his pen and ink style is highly distinctive and identifiable. You can tell this is his work if you see one.

With these kind of outrageous incidents happening here and there, I still think that internet is a very good, convenient and important way to expose your works, to meet other great artists and sharing interests. It widens people's abilities to share GOOD works in GOOD ways.

My thumb of rule is make sure I remember to credit the owner with a line likes "courtesy to ....." at the bottom if I'm putting his/her works in my blog for reference/discussion/sharing.

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