Category Archives: Uncategorized

Infringement from A to Z-umiez

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Copyright protection extends to a creative combination of otherwise unprotectable elements. In other words, creating a work that is comprised of numerous basic elements will give you protection in the entire composition even if the basic elements comprising it would not be protectable on their own.

So, if another company or person takes that composition, either in full or as a template upon which to build their own work, infringement will most likely be found. This is because, among other reasons, a copyright holder has the exclusive right to create derivative works from his or her copyrighted work.

Below, we have what appears to be such a taking.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

UPDATED – August 26, 2014 – Primitive, the company that provided the goods at issue in this post to Zumiez, has reached out to the artist that was knocked off and reached an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties.

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Dear YTWWN:

A pretty straightforward rip by Zumiez of a logo designed by Tim Praetzel in 2013. Check it out.

- Reader

A Swarm of Bees!

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Record label sleeve art was once a thriving industry, with artists creating evocative and thrilling imagery to complement the music on the vinyl inside in the sleeve. After a long decline, records are making a comeback, and, it appears, so is the borrowing of sleeve art. Take the below example for a spin.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

The band Gob has a new album out titled Apt. 13. I can’t help but notice that the album artwork is very reminiscent of the artwork from the Shout at People EP by Canadian indie-pop band Beekeepers. Close as in appears-to-be-a-trace-job close. A comparison is below.

-Reader

What on Earth is Transformative Use?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

This post allows us to explore some of the issues raised in Prince v. Cariou, last year’s most head-scratching appellate court case.

In that case, Richard Prince, a collage or “appropriation” artist, was alleged to have taken without permission a number of photographs created by Patric Cariou for a book he (Cariou) published on Jamaica. Prince basically copied a bunch of Cariou’s photographs and then scratched them up a bit, adding little details of coarseness and drips and color. He then sold the resulting collages for millions of dollars.

The district court found Prince liable for infringement, but the appellate court, in a confounding opinion, said that certain of the pieces may not be infringing because they were potentially “transformative.” The problem, though, is that nobody really knows what “transformative” means. And, the Prince pieces were altered in such a rudimentary fashion that it seemed very unlikely that they could qualify as transformative under even the most liberal definition of the word. Yet, that is what the Court laid down, and the Court’s word is, quite literally, law.

Similar issues seem to bubble up in our most recent post. Is the artist below’s work “transformative” enough to qualify as a new, non-infringing work?

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

The artist, Benjamin Spark, has built a career out of copying the works of others. He even attempts to justify his admitted plagiarism of other artists’ work in a section he has written on his web site explaining his “art.” The evidence of infringement, though, is clear from images of his work, a selection of which are pictured below.

- Reader

A Semi-NSFW Skater Grrrl Rip from France?

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

Artists have been creating renditions of the female form for as long as drawing instruments and blank space have existed. Indeed, way back in the caves of our forebears, one could find hirsute visionaries etching pictures of their cave-mates (or maybe a particular fetching cave-neighbor) into the rock and dust walls.

So, it need not be said that no artist has a monopoly over being able to create art depicting women. An artist’s particular expression of that woman, however, is subject to protection. This protection will not cover the basic elements of lady-dom (such as having two eyes, two arms, et c.), but will cover the artist’s unique depiction of these elements and the choate whole of the work. In France, it is averred that one artist went too far in taking such a unique depiction.

-AttorneyScott ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

The artist, SPAZZ, has been an illustrator and painter for at least 20 years. He designed a skate deck graphic for Freedom Fighter Skateboards which proved to be extremely popular.

He was later contacted by Pidivi Wakeskate in France, who sent over their “version” of his skate deck graphic artwork, wanting to use it on their products. They offered no compensation, and after he declined the offer, they used it anyway. This is a clear, knowing rip. The images are below.

- Reader

ORIGINAL:

PIDIVI ART:

The Right to Reproduce and Prepare Derivative Works

EB RIP

ATTORNEYSCOTT COMMENTARY:

One exclusive right granted to artists is the exclusive right to make copies of their work, and to create derivative works based on their work. See 17 USC 106(1)-(2).

This right can be construed very literally by the Courts. That is to say, if a third party creates a single copy of the artist’s work, an action for infringement may well lie. Below we have a case of an artist who may have engaged in such copying.

-ATTORNEYSCOTT ([email protected])

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Dear YTWWN:

I was reviewing SUBREAL’s portfolio and couldnt’ help but notice these blatant copies. He is apparently a professional artist and shold really know better. See below for the two copies I noticed before I became too ill to further browse “his” work.

- Reader

Images below:

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