Can I sue a photographer colleague for producing images that look like mine? + Other questions on artists’ rights, answers

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Have you ever wondered what your rights are as an artist? There is no clear manual to consult, but we are here to help. Katarina Feder, vice-president of Artists’ Rights Society, answers all kinds of questions about the kind of control artists have – and don’t have – over their work.

Do you have a question for yourself? E-mail [email protected] and it can be answered in a future article.

I am a successful photographer who made a name for myself with large format photographs of skateboarders and their injuries. Imagine my surprise when I recently visited an upscale skate shop and discovered a photo that looked like one of mine but didn’t take. Someone is stealing my schtick. Can I continue?

I watched skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics and it seems injury is a growing industry. These guys are falling a lot.

All kidding aside, I’m sorry to tell you that you probably have little legal recourse to her.e. In the United States, copyright applies only to works “fixed in any tangible means of expression“, Which means that the ideas, of sophisticated concepts for dinners to vanity for a series of paintings, can not be protected by copyright. You own the copyright in your photographs from the time you develop them, but the general idea behind them isunfortunately in this case-to win.

This issue recently appeared with a photograph that the pop star Olivia Rodrigo staged to promote her “Sour Prom” concert, which was more reminiscent of the cover of 1994 hole album Live through it. In it, Rodrigo wears the same style of crown and wears the same type of flowers as the woman on the Hole album cover, and her makeup is applied in a similar vertical style. Rodrigo went on to pay this as a tribute, though she didn’t tag Courtney Love or the original photographer, Ellen von Unwerth, in her Instagram post of the photo. It smelled like fish, and not at all the spirit of a teenager, but in the New York Times, von Unwerth admitted that she couldn’t do more than be annoyed about it.

That said, prosecution isn’t the only place of retaliation in cases like these (for more on this, see the answer to our next question). When it comes to “who did it first” or “who did it best,” social media is a powerful force. Consider the backlash when Juergen Teller shot Rhianna for Vogue and many thought he had unfairly appropriated the style of Mickalene Thomas. The court of public opinion is quite noisy these days. You can always try to make your point there.

What Pornhub’s “Classic Nudes” page looked like when it launched last month …

I read the New York Post every morning, but even my hardened sensibility was shocked by their report on Pornhub’s latest public relations stunt: an app that takes you to the dirtiest nude paintings in a given museum, then animates them with pornographic actors. How is this legal at any level?

When it comes to copyright, I may be a bit prudish, but when works are in the public domain, I’m all for letting go. This is why I loved Pornhub’s new venture so much, reimagining European masterpieces, porn-style, in the hope that tourists would add them to their list of MILV (museums that i ‘would like to visit). What about legality? Oh, it’s all legal (although that didn’t stop Pornhub from getting in trouble, we’ll get to that a bit later).

Here’s why: As we have established, copyright only exists for the lifetime of the creator plus an additional 70 years post-mortem. After that, the works are in the “public domain”, an image that evokes a grassy field on which anyone can graze their cattle.

And Pornhub did, by hiring actors from adult entertainment cast My Sweet Apple to push the plot forward, so to speak, on paintings like Courbet’s. The origin of the world (1866) which is in the Musée d’Orsay, along with other works from the collections of the Met, the National Gallery and the Prado, among others. It was a strange thing to spend your advertising budget and it seems designed to outraged art historians, but as the works in question have passed copyright protection, museums have little reason to sue. lawsuit.

Still, that didn’t stop the Louvre from threatening or the Uffizi Gallery from sending Pornhub a cease and desist letter. Seemingly scared, site deleted all art inspired porn from their site, and many works of art that inspired him, leaving only a few lonely Impressionist paintings to stimulate what we can only guess to be a very specific segment of his audience.

Left to Right: KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and Ian Hill of Judas Priest perform on stage - Unleashed In The East album cover session taken in July 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello / Redferns)

Left to right: KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and Ian Hill of Judas Priest perform on stage in July 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello / Redferns)

I was reading a interview with Stephen King, and he said he originally included the lyrics to the song “You have one more thing to come ” by English heavy metal band Judas Priest as an epigram in their 2008 novel Key to the Duma. But, he said, “they or they [the band] came back and said they wanted $ 50,000 plus royalties. And I said, ‘Damn that shit! It’s not going to happen. ‘ So I made us a doggerel of my own. Why would it cost so much money to print the lyrics of a song?

Knowing Stephen King’s reverence for classic rock and his enormous success as a creator, it’s quite surprising that he chose not to pay the $ 50,000 (and that he was able to come close to the dizzying lyrical heights of “Yesyou have another thing to come “!).

When it comes to copyright for songs, the music industry is really using all the buffalo. There are broadcast rights if you want to play the song on TV, performing rights if you want to play the song at a political rally, and there is printing rights if you want to reproduce lyrics or sheet music. These are useful when it comes to epigrams, merchandising, and lyric printing on soda cans.

Breaking down the rights in this way can be useful when different people are responsible for writing the lyrics and the music, as Elton John and Bernie Taupin did. (In this case, Judas Priest appears to have collectively rushed off the track to complete their 1982 album Scream for revenge, so they would probably all share the $ 50,000 royalty.)

As to why this particular license cost so much, I can only guess that the invoice was based on the expected sales for King’s book. Lyric printing rights usually break down to one cent per unit, and it wouldn’t be unexpected for King to sell five million copies. Although with the soaring Delta variant I would personally recommend The stall– whose title is, of course, based on lyrics by Bruce Springsteen.

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP via Getty Images.

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure / AFP via Getty Images.

I’ve heard that the creators of Black TikTok are on strike. Doesn’t TikTok own its content? Do these creators have a union? How it works?

It is true that TikTok is one of the most confusing social media platforms. It’s more about lip-syncing and dancing than political arguments with strangers, and if you want to show off an outfit you have to jump in the air to get on first. When in Rome!

The fact that dance is one of the primary means of communication on TikTok means that its main creators have found a loophole in the perennial problem with social media – that companies usually own all the content you post on their platforms. (To see this unfold, consider the case of black photographers who recently sued Buzzfeed for incorporating their BLM Instagram protest photos into a story.)

The dance, however, is different. Although TikTok owns the rights to the videos, they do not own the rights to the dances they contain. This is new territory for copyright, as dancing has only recently become lucrative enough to argue through social media and, most importantly, Fortnite.

When we last touched on this topic, the choreographer of “Single women “ video, JaQuel Knight, had recently filed the copyright to the famous hand-flip dance. But even if other choreographers followed suit, many of them wouldn’t have the ability to enforce copyright on their dances. Enter: the TikTok strike.

Unite under the hashtag #BlackTikTokStrike, Black creators have refused to develop dances for newly released music because, they say, their hard work has too often been appropriated (especially by famous white TikTokers) without credit. A Washington post item points to two dances created by Black TikTok users which were then appropriated by TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, a 17-year-old who is not only black but also from Connecticut.

And although there is no union or formal strike, oobservers suggest the effort is already having an impact. They note that the blackout is one of the main reasons for Megan Thee Stallion’s new song, “Thot shit”, Failed to take off on TikTok.

With that in mind, I encourage creators to start protecting their dances before starting them. This is a necessary first step before legal action. Plus, I like the idea that copyright lawyers across the country have to get over their Tootsie Slides.

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