Sunday, February 15, 2009

Copyright Infringements - Then and Now

Between Shepard Fairey, the Associated Press, TMZ and TechCrunch, the copyright lawyers must be busy indeed.

TMZ isn't infringing, but they are reporting on an infringement of the iconic 1978 poster of Farrah Fawcett from the 1970's (at right), by Bruce McBoom. The story goes that a small poster company called Pro Arts, Inc wanted Fawcett to pose in a bikini, and she instead insisted on the red one-piece, but it was apparently a chilly day that day, which is one of the things that made this poster stand out and become one of the best-selling posters of all time.

So, what's the problem? According to TMZ "Fawcett is suing Bio-Graphics inc., Pie International Inc. and author T.N. Trikilis, claiming that Trikilis "has falsely asserted to third parties that [Fawcett] does not own any rights in the photographs." , and that allegation has the potential to diminish Fawcett's ability to continue to license the image in the future, should people become confused about who to write the reprint/relicense/reuse checks to, so, she's suing for $100,000 or more. Maybe Bio-Graphics someone came into possession of the assets of Pro-Arts when they filed for bankruptcy at the end of 1981, or maybe not. But they're saying they have exclusivity, she's saying they don't. Maybe the author of the book about Pro Arts, T.N. Trikilis is just trying to promote his book?

Further, the well-respected website TechCrunch is allegedgly infringing on a Flickr photo, according to Will Seberger over on his blog here - Is TechCrunch Listening? (2/10/09), and Seberger's been in contact with the photographer in question, who has indicated she gave no permission for the photo's use.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


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12 comments:

Augie De Blieck Jr. said...

Gizmodo is stealing pics, too:

http://duncandavidson.com/2009/02/one-thing-i-hate-about-gizmodo.html

Rick Lewis said...

What the hell is going on today. Anyone remember the book "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum? One of the "things" is don't take things that aren't yours!

It just never ceases to amaze me at the audacity of some, at the expense of others.

Rick
www.RickLewisPhotography.com
http://ricklewisphotography.blogspot.com/

Chicago photographer said...

Hopefully some of these things will end with noteable judgements and at some point it will start to seep into corporate culture that "Things aren't yours, just because you can grab them."

Anonymous said...

Chicago photographer,

I'd agree, but with one caveat: it's going to take noteable judgements that are public. Too often the payouts in some of these cases carry onerous confidentiality clauses.

Tony said...

Lots of people out there steal pics. It sucks but its reality.

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