Amie (wickedgillie) wrote in ebsq,
Amie
wickedgillie
ebsq

Open Thread: When artistic license isn't...

Those of you who know me know that I'm not just an artist; I'm also a huge tech geek. And so it's with great interest (and concern) that I've been watching the most recent internet kerfuffle at the convergence of my two areas of interest.  You may not be aware of the latest viral video that is the darling of the same tech community it parodies, "Look, It's Another Bubble" by The Richter Scales. At the heart of this controversy is a photographer, Lane Hartwell,  who found out that yet another one of her photographs was used without her permission in this beloved video. Like many of you might have been in her place, she was pissed that her copyrighted work was used both without permission or attribution.

Yes, it was a good video. I personally passed it around to a lot of like-minded friends before this whole thing blew up. And I can understand that people who enjoyed this video are mad at the photographer for not just giving her blessing after the fact and spoiling everyone's fun. But now this woman is being called, among other things, "a whiny bitch" for protecting her copyright and being a spoil sport, and some claim she's impeding on The Richter Scales rights to use the piece in question because the end result is a parody. People have made fun of  the quality of her work, and the quality of her character, saying she's money grubbing and wants a piece of the viral pie, or is taking advantage of all of the publicity she's receiving for having this video taken down all over the net while she works things out with the other party. It's personally disheartening to see an artist villified by a community of which I am normally proud to be a part. 

So let me put this to you: if this was your photograph being used in this video, how would you react? Would you be thrilled to have your work (sans attribution) appear in a video gone viral? Or would you, like Lane, be pissed that your rights were being infringed upon and try to do something about it? Was the usage of Lane's photograph fair use, much as parts and pieces are used in a collage, for example?

For further context:

From the photographer in question: http://flickr.com/photos/fetching/2090802706/
From the infringing party: http://www.richterscales.com/blog/
A representative post from the tech community: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/15/misunderstanding-copyright-law-and-ruining-everyones-fun/

We greatly welcome you thoughts on this issue. And if copyright issues are important to you, please pass this on!
 
Tags: controversy, copyright law, ebsq, fair use, flickr, kerfuffle, lane hartwell, mike arrington, open thread, richter scales, tech crunch, wired
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