Bob Dylan, Defender Of Strong Copyrights, Once Again Caught Copying Others

from the sing-a-song-of-hypocrisy dept

Bob Dylan has a pretty long history of appropriating works from others, but then going after anyone who has built on his works. He's also been held up by copyright maximalists as someone whose career just wouldn't be the same without strong copyright. So it's somewhat amusing to discover, once again, that he's been caught outright copying others. Emily Goodhand points us to the news that Dylan has a new painting exhibit, and people have started noticing that some of the paintings appear to be clearly copied from old photographs. Take these two comparisons from the NY Times:


The images on the left are from Dylan's exhibit (photographs taken by the NY Times' Marcus Yam). The top photo on the right is by Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the lower photo is by Leon Busy. It would be difficult for anyone to argue that the paintings were not based on these photos. Dylan had claimed that the paintings were all based on scenes he had seen in his travels. I guess he may have seen those photographs during his travels, but that's certainly not the implied origin of the paintings.

Now, to be clear, I actually don't see anything wrong with Dylan making such paintings. Painting from a source photograph is a good way for many to learn how to paint. On top of that, the paintings don't take away anything from the photos, and may actually create more attention for the photos. It does feel sleazy, though, to not credit the source. But the bigger issue is the hypocrisy of it all -- of arguing that others can't appropriate his works, while regularly and directly appropriating the works of others... and then refusing to admit to it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The Incoherent One (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Well

    Do as I say, not as I do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    I gave up on him years ago.His original protesting spirit was cool in the 60's but he became a big Corporate piece of Krap Musician who sold his soul to big money.
    I am still a poor punk rocker but would rather be me than any of these RIAA Signing Traitors !!!

    Original 1976 punker still playing punk in two bands.
    The Lynn Rebels
    Big Meat Hammer
    I refuse to ever sell out !!!!

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Well

    im pretty sure he is rich enough that it goes without saying

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Point of order: the opium den photo was taken in 1915, and thus public domain.

     

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  5.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    That's not what Mike is criticizing. He's criticizing how he blatantly copies (copyrighted works or public domains) and then goes aggressive when some1 does a work derived from his stuff.

    It takes a politician to believe the copyright morons when you see so many contradictions and proofs that copyright is broken nowadays.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention that painting from a photograph? What's the matter with Bob Dylan? Why can't he be 100% original, why does he have to steal like that?

     

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  7.  
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    crade (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    I missed seeing Leonard Cohen for Bob Dylan's show, and I don't think I will ever forgive him for how bad he sucked, nor myself for making such a poor choice. I may never get to see Cohen now and I can see rich assholes who think the world owes them every day.

     

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  8.  
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    Scooters (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    In the words of Dylan...

    "Baby stop crying" "All I really want to do" "Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking".

    "I Feel A Change Comin' On", "Just Like A Woman", "Life Is Hard" "Never Gonna Be The Same Again"

    "Take Me As I Am" "When I Paint My Masterpiece"

    Too easy.

     

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  9.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps Dylan just wants to be a great artist?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be a great artist today one the law demands that you be a criminal.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Someone should take all of the original works that Dylan has copied from, create derivative works from said originals and then see if Dylan sues (he probably will).

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 12:40pm

    Re: In the words of Dylan...

    '"Just Like A Woman", "Life Is Hard"'

    are you hanging out at the gym too much? where are you meeting all these hard women?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Maybe it is all the drugs, the guy is not right in the head.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Rockon, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Awesome-will check it out - from the tween/lost/pseudo-genX rocker who records in the bathroom

     

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  15.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Unlike what you do in the bathroom, obviously. That is, aside from the two basic biological necessities.

     

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  16.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Hmm, is this the same Bob Dylan who wrote All Along the Watchtowers? Point of Order, Bob, I heard your version and it was crap. I then listened to the Jimi Hendrix and Bear McCreary (the one used in Battlestar Galactica) covers, and they were AWESOME.

     

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  17.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    Perhaps that would explain his lack of singing ability, and his demonstrated cognitive deficits, which he inflicts on the populace daily. Just another media Caligula wannabe.

     

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  18.  
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    hmm (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    give it a bit of time and he'll be doing cover versions of Poker Face......

     

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  19.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    Nobody ever rendered it better than Jimi!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I may not sleep tonight.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Well

    But if it's left up to maximalists like Dylan, we'll no longer have a public domain to steal from.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    Re:

    But if it's left up to maximalists like Dylan, we'll no longer have a public domain to steal from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well

    *Er, I swear I clicked on that other comment to reply to. Damn flattened view. ignore this)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe just a good one then?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    C:\TMP, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    I understand maybe Dylan should've mentioned the sources. In a world where artists don't need to worry about the idiotic concept of copyright this should've been just another attempt at art. Van Gogh copied Millet, Picasso copied Braque. You know how it goes - all art is derivative.

    Btw, I found this little gem by Jim Jarmusch -

    "Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don't bother concealing your thievery--celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: "It's not where you take things from--it's where you take them to."

    source
    http://www.moviemaker.com/directing/article/jim_jarmusch_2972/

     

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  26.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    Re:

    Perhaps. But, Dylan's works are among those being used to try and stop the public domain from being available in the future. Hence the hypocrisy.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Tom The Toe, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Bob Uses Public Domain and puts his name on it.

    For his 2006 album Modern Times he has a song called The Levee's Gonna Break. "When the Levee Breaks" is a blues song written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The song is in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Led Zeppelin recorded it but were nice enough to attribute the song to Memphis Minnie. Bob took it and put his name on it as writer. D-BAG.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    Shepherd Fairey.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Plagiarize, let no ones work evade you eyes, plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize.



    The above stolen from some math professor from Yale/Berkly

    (yes I do know of whom I type but if you search for him you will feel all superior and shit)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Donny (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    This is Dylan.

    Interpret the character behind it however you want, but this is how Dylan makes his art.

    So how ought he be dealt with?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    BUSTED

    Abolish Copyright and Stupid People

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Scooters (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: In the words of Dylan...

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    I think a song fell out somewhere between "preview" and "submit"

    I like this version much better. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To live outside the law you must be honest

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Brian Schroth (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re:

    You chose between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan? Is there some niche subgenre of great songwriters with terrible voices that you just can't get enough of?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Strawbear (profile), Sep 29th, 2011 @ 11:21pm

    I'm not sure anything Dylan does would be a worse crime than rhyming Help with Kelp.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    David A Ross, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    As Picasso and dozens of other artists and writers have (more or less) said : "all artists borrow, great artists steal."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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