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Steal This Look - Joy Garnett supplement


  Joy Garnett - Molotov                                                      Susan Meiselas - Sandinistas at the walls of the Esteli National Guard headquarters, Esteli, Nicaragua

Comparison of Garnett's painting with portion of photograph referenced at thumbnail size



Some questions:

  • What is the line between fair use and a derivative work of art?
  • How much was the existence of this case facilitated by digital technologies and the Internet? Conceivably, since Garnett's work is a painting and Meiselas is a photograph, this painterly use of Meiselas photograph could and has been done before. As Garnett mentions, Golub and Richter had similar methods but were never accused of piracy and yet the case was immediately dropped as soon as Garnett removed the images from her website. It seems that her analysis that the case  was "not about the painting itself [but]  ... about the presence of reproductions on the Web" was indeed correct.
  • What has "ownership" evolved into with a photographer now feeling justified in suing a painter for using her work as a reference for her own?
  • What is the status of Meiselas's work itself? As Garnett points out, since Meiselas is taking a journalistic photograph, it is made in order to represent and distribute a fact (something which cannot be copyrighted). As Garnett puts it: "Photojournalism, then, is distinct from other forms of photography in that it attempts to record facts, which cannot be copyrighted and remain in the public domain. Not to mention that by taking photographs of factual events, W. is equally operating under the privilege of fair use as a reporter. War photographers do not obtain releases from their subjects."
  • What does "information wants to be free" mean and how does it relate to this situation and the show of solidarity by the members on the Rhizome board?
  •  With the advent of the digital, what avenues have been opened up and which are trying to be used for control by industry and government?




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