Heller, Steven. "Shepard Fairey Is Not a Crook." 10 Apr. 2009. <http://themoment.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/graphic-content-shepard-fairey-is-not-a-crook/?hpw>.
The author is Steven Heller, former art director at the New York Times and current co-chair of the MFA design department at the School of Visual Arts. The blog entry is a response to Mark Vallen's Obey Plagiarist Fairey essay which attacks Fairey for using Chinese and Russian propaganda imagery. He labeled the acts misappropriation. Heller's article begins by briefly laying out the Fairey vs. AP court case. This case is perhaps the most current high profile copyright lawsuit. Its decision will be extremely important for the mindset of artists. The decision will either encourage or discourage appropriation art. The uproar surrounding the Hope image is yet again an example how in copyright everything is but black and white.
The author argues Fairey is not a thief. Heller thinks the usage is protected under fair use. His work in general acts to criticize media's consumer outlook. As Heller writes about his Obey poster, "Fairey is essentially arguing that icons can be conflated and repurposed to achieve manipulative results. Fairey's appropriation refers to that which goes on in the mass media every day. At its most articulate, his work is a critique of image ownership." The article concludes by noting that Fairey has made rigid efforts to protect his own brand from the appropriation of other artists. For my research paper, this latter point is significant. It makes us question the degrees to which appropriation can take on. We must wonder is there ever an end to the cycle of appropriating a single image. As I begin to write about appropriation art, I will use Fairey as my jumping off point. The current case and Fairey's tactics to stop his art from being appropriated are emblematic of how copyright law exists among artist, media, and institutions today.
Landes, William M. "Copyright Protection and Appropriation Art." The Arts and Humanities in Public Life. Http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/conf1999/landes.html.
The author begins by bringing up many issues that surround appropriation art. These problems include when art is based on renowned copyrights images, when images are borrowed without appropriate art intent, and when images are used for educational purposes. Instead of lamenting that the grey area of copyright can never be solved, this author takes a different approach. Landes proposes a solution to all these problems. Not necessarily a solution, but a belief that current copyright law can decide these matters.
The article delves into the economics of copyright. Landes discusses how without copyright protection artists would never be able to recoup losses to create art and therefore would be working without incentive. This would lead to a culture devoid of meaningful expression. He argues that there needs to be an appropriate balance between too little and too much protection. This balance would ensure that efficiency and creativity are promoted.
This piece brings up many questions about how appropriation art exists among law, society, and culture. It makes us question the benefits and downfalls of copyright protection. Like many copyright articles, it discusses the Koons v Rogers case. From its analysis, we gather that not all appropriation art should be protected under fair use. Additionally, we see that if it was, courts would be put in the unsuitable position of judging what art is and what is not.
"Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code." Http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106. US Copyright Office.
This is where all the grey area of copyright lies. The US Copyright office presents an all inclusive guideline to copyright law. In order to understand appropriation art, it is important to know the law that binds all artists. Additionally, this piece is significant because its interpretation by US courts and judges affects all members of the digital era. Much of the information included in the section is broad. While I will not use the majority of the information provided, it will be an important reference for me as I write my paper. It is the copyright bible so to speak. It has an expansive glossary of everything from the definition of "public" to "visual art." In addition, it contains all of the many restrictions and exceptions to the rules that make up copyright law.
There are important passages that relate to appropriation. Specifically, Section 106A: Rights of Certain Authors to Attribution and Integrity, which among other things, recognizes the importance of the name. In doing so, it assigns values to the names of artists and companies that feel their name is being used and adversely affected without their permission. This brings up many questions like, how much is an artist's name worth? Or, how can we judge to what extent a name was damaged? Also, the Section recognizes the exclusive rights of copyright holders for derivative works. This affects any form of appropriation from sampling to parody to visual art. When determining the morality of appropriation, this latter point will be discussed at great length.
Smith, Roberta. "When One Man's Video Art Is Another's Copyright Crime." 6 May 2004. Thew New York Times.
Roberta Smith's When One Man's Video Art is Another's Copyright Crime digresses from the traditional discussion of visual artists' taking single images, and instead, focuses in on video artists appropriating. Jon Rouston is an artist that makes movies of already made movies. His process involves going to the theatre on opening night and recording what happens both on and off the screen. Although he doesn't sell his work, his installations still fall in that grey copyright area between theft and inspiration.
More troubling to Rouston is that Maryland, the state in which he works, is making it illegal to film inside movie theaters. Additionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking harsh steps to ensure that illegal filming cannot happen in movie theatres. With 80 percent of pirated films coming from filming inside theatres, the MPAA has many lobbyists in Washington trying to create new laws that decrease piracy. However, Rouston argues that his films are not pirated DVDs that take away from seeing a film in theatres. Instead, he believes his film propone the movie going experience.
The author concludes that these new camcorder bans inhibit people from commenting and criticizing. According to Ms. Smith, our pop culture is comparable to 19th century landscape-would you ban 19th century artists from making pastorals? Her point hits home. Appropriation art that creates new meaning-whether parodic or scathing-should be allowed to exist, uninhibited by the law. In the end, Rouston decided to stop creating his films. This article is symbolic of artists moving away from appropriation (and thus, a type of commentary) because of laws that inadvertently protect copyright.
Fineman, Mia. "The Image Is Familiar; the Pitch Isn't." 13 July 2008. The New York Times. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/arts/design/13fine.html?scp=13&sq=art%20appropriation%20copyright&st=cse>.
What happens when advertisers appropriate artists' images? So often, we read of artists manipulating corporate giants' advertisements to make a statement about society's mass consumerism. Warhol or Koons may ring a bell. This article describes the opposite event. In February 2007, artist Christian Marclay was shocked to see his video installation used in an Apple iPhone commercial. Although perturbed at Apple for using his work, especially after he denied his permission a year earlier, he did want to appear hypocritical. After all, Marclay's works borrows images from Hollywood without copyright permission. Throughout the article, many other similar examples are cited like John Galliano copying William Klein photographs in ads and Vaseline copying Spencer Tunick's naked series in a 60-second spot.
This article describes the recent phenomenon of corporations capitalizing on high profile contemporary artists through advertising. A New York art lawyer describes these events as verging on obvious "rip-offs" without any sort of recognition. There is a fine line between inspiration and stealing. One must question if the corporations copy the thought or the execution. It seems that artists have realized appropriation can be a double edge sword for them. The Marclay event is significant in that it holds a mirror up to artists that utilize appropriation. It shows how when properly formulated a successful technique can be used both against and for contemporary artists. The article ends leaving us question is it really fair for the David to pick on Goliath? The courts would say yes.
There is also another underlying theme to the New York Times article. Much of the piece discusses how artists who turn down offers from big corporations are often dumbfounded when companies go ahead and use their images anyway. For obvious reasons, these artists rarely sue billion dollar companies. The take a way is that artists are pushed into a corner. Should they take the cash or sacrifice their integrity? There is another problem. Many fans think they have sold out to these companies, affecting their brand name. As a result, the author sees artists becoming more defensive and rigid in their tactics to control distribution.
One is left questioning the difference if the situation was reversed. For my research paper, I see a difference: one person is trying to make a thoughtful point the other is trying to sell some iPhones. But what happens as more and more companies are trying to do both?
tagged advertisers copyright marclay by dustinsb ...on 13-APR-09
When writing a paper about appropriation, it is important to get theoretical perspectives of how appropriation exists in our current digital revolution. The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction is less of a response to The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction than one would think. The author simultaneously updates and adheres to the latter.
Davis argues that in this world of digital reproduction there are no direct differences between the original and appropriated work. Benjamin's aura now merges with the original and reproduction. In this age of digitization, everything can be perfectly copied. We are forced to address how the contemporary world around us is essential to our understanding and use of appropriation. One can make changes to an original in an instant, but what does this mean? All of these things have infinite psychological and cultural implications (i.e. the culture police). The copied art can bring infinite pleasure and improve upon the original. Davis ends by saying, "Videotape...here is where the aura resides--not in the thing itself but in the originality of the moment when we hear see, read, repeat, revise."
tagged copies copyright reproduction by dustinsb ...on 13-APR-09
Kennedy, Randy. "If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What’s the Original?" Http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/arts/design/06prin.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=appropriation&st=cse. 6 Dec. 2007. The New York Times. 25 Mar. 2009.
If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What's the Original? presents the issue of appropriation through a personal lens: the people behind the appropriated works of art. It follows photographer Jim Krantz, who while on a trip to New York, sees his shots of a Marlboro cowboy in a Richard Prince show at the Guggenheim. From here, the reader views both side of the appropriation dialogue. On one hand, there is Prince who adds to the cultural capital of art work everywhere. On the other hand, there is Prince who is making millions of dollars on posters and works of art that are not technically his. Krantz is rightly angry when someone comes up to his original in Chicago saying, "This looks similar to Richard Prince's work."
This article is anything but conclusive. Instead of arguing for something, the author tries to paint an image of the lesser known issues that go along with appropriation, like feelings. We see Krantz, an artist whose copyrighted images are used without permission, basically being told his lesser known reputation doesn't qualify him for the big bucks. He is angry but all he wants is a little recognition, not money. When writing my paper, I will use this article to address questions like, "What is the value of recognition? What do artists want in return for their work being used by others? What does it mean to make money off of someone else's work?" I will use this article to challenge the often heralded appropriation artists, by showing the sometimes negative and frustrating effects of their works on others.
tagged copyright marlboro_man prince by dustinsb ...on 13-APR-09
Ames, E. Kenly. "Beyond Rogers v. Koons: A Fair Use Standard for Appropriation." Columbia Law Review 6th ser. 93 (1993): 1473-526.
The article begins by detailing the origins of Rogers v. Koons: Koons making a sculpture inspired by Roger's photograph Puppies. Koons lost the trial after courts failed to see reason to his fair use by parody defense. After describing the loss of Koons in court, the author posits several questions that are essential to my paper. Ames asks, "Is the use to which Koons puts Roger's photographs mere piracy of someone else's images? Or is it art in some more meaningful sense? If it is more than piracy, does it deserve the protection of copyright law, and, if so, then how should that protection be afforded to balance appropriately the interests of the original creator, the viewing public, and the appropriator?" This article attempts to answer these questions by giving an overview of how contemporary art came to appropriation as a technique and by explaining how copyright law exists within the current art world. Additionally, the author discusses several issues created out of the ongoing dialogue between copyright and artists. To begin with, it seems as if too often artists edit their art around copyright and the potential of being sued. The author argues that that appropriation should be protected under fair use. However, Ames sees the current fair use doctrine as inadequate in protecting appropriation artists. Lawmakers and artists are put into a grey area too often. Ames discusses new guidelines and rules that need to be developed to protect appropriation, while hushing copyright holders who are all too eager to sue. The author concludes by developing a standardized method for protecting appropriation artists. This method, an adaptation of the four factor analysis, is based on protecting the copyright holder's future markets instead of safeguarding infringement rights in work. The latter is founded on the idea that an appropriator's work will not substantially affect the value of the copyright holder's work.
Rogers v. Koons was a landmark decision. This article shows how the court case brought up a myriad of questions for our 21st Century society. When writing my research paper, it will be important to be able to explain not just what these questions are, but what many contemporary thinkers have responded with. Ames proposes a creative solution to the many different problems created when law does not sufficiently protect appropriation artists. Perhaps most important to my paper, Beyond Rogers v. Koons: A Fair Use Standard for Appropriation presents the debate by showing what great value society can get from appropriating.
Patry, William. "Appropriation Art and Copies." Http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2005/10/appropriation-art-and-copies.html. 20 Oct. 2005. 1 Apr. 2009.
This blog begins by giving a definition of appropriation from London's Tate Gallery: "Appropriation art raises questions of originality, authenticity, and authorship, and belongs to the long modernist tradition of art that questions the nature or definition of art itself." Among artists the author names as descendants of the appropriation tradition are Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Fountain, Dali, Johns, Rauschenberg, Koons, and Levine. The author argues that even though the practice of appropriation is quite old, courts have not been "receptive to fair use appropriation art claims." He cites Rogers V. Koons as an example of this. The article finds two problems in this case: First, a failure to understand that a judgment of "unfair" use does not mean that the court is an art critic; second, the presupposition that just because the art community believes something is art, it can't break copyright law. The author ends the article by noting a divide in the artistic community: those who support appropriation and those who fight against it. Patry finds the divide most fascinating because of the fact that artists who have always been supportive of moral rights undermine themselves with appropriation art (in that, it denies a special connection between originality and the author).
The blog entry proves most valuable to my thesis. It fuels the questions I started off with by giving perspective to the whole appropriation controversy inside and outside the spectrum of copyright. When discussing the existence of appropriation in the art world, it will be important to cite past artists of the tradition and current artists' opinions of ownership.