The Copyright Battles Continue

A software developer by the name of Andy Baio was sued by a photographer for recreating his photography and making it into new art. In Andy Baio’s Kind of Screwed post, he writes “It breaks my heart that a project I did for fun, on the side, and out of pure love and dedication to the source material ended up costing me so much — emotionally and financially.” In this case, I believe that Mr. Baio was in the right. He completely changed the art and made it 8-bit which greatly reduced the resolution of the image, making it very different than the original photograph. And I also feel that if they were going to sue him, it should have been for an even lesser amount than the $30,000+ that he had to pay.

In another case, an artist by the name of Richard Prince was sued by a photographer, as well, for using his photographs in numerous artistic collages. From reading the article, Appeal Finds Fair Use in Richard Prince’s “Canal Zone” Series, the statement that stuck out to me the most was “This was, and still is, a big deal: if the first ruling were applied across the board, anyone who’s ever copied, altered, collaged, or generally riffed on virtually anything could be in huge legal trouble.” Art is the most fluid cultural aspect of our world.That’s what makes art art. It’s able to be changed, shifted, and reinvented numerous times, and every time you’ll get something new. The legal term “fair use” means something so general and vague that I’m not surprised that cases like these come up so often. There really isn’t a concrete definition of what “fair use” is and what it entails. But I overall, I feel that Mr. Prince was innocent because he did change the original photographs to a certain extent thus protecting him from copyright infringement punishments.

By Katelyn Kemble

Creative and technical student studying at York College; steering towards majoring in Communications Technology.

CT101 Digital Storytelling