Chuck Close Succeeds In Stifling A Creative Homage… But Only For Another 100 Years Or So!

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Chuck Close is an interesting artist. One of the most famous, most successful artists alive today, he paints giant portraits of people based on photographs. He does so by enlarging photographs, dividing up the images, and copying smaller areas square by square. The effect is quite striking. A couple years ago, there was an astoundingly fascinating interview of both Close and famed neuroscientist Oliver Sachs (who the movie Awakenings was based on) talking about how both have face blindness, in that they simply cannot recognize faces. Given that, it’s interesting to see that Close’s entire career is based on painting faces.

Scott Blake is a long-time devoted Chuck Close fan — and also a skilled computer artist. In 2001 he had the idea to create a “Chuck Close Filter,” which would take images and turn them into something that looks like a Chuck Close image. While it took a lot of work, and was showcased at an exhibit in 2002, he said that computers weren’t fast enough to make use of the filter in realitime at the time. In 2008, computers were fast enough that they could take an uploaded photo and automatically generate a “Chuck Close filtered version,” so he set up a site called Two years later than that, Close threatened to take legal action against him. Blake has now detailed the whole thing in a long blog post. Here’s the exchange between the two, though, reading the entire story (and seeing the images) is absolutely worthwhile:

I never intended to rip off Chuck Close, so when he emailed me in November 2010 threatening legal action, I did exactly what he said and took my filter offline immediately. Still, I feel obligated to point out that Close is the 14th richest living artist, worth a staggering $25 million. I really don’t think any work I make is going to “jeopardize” his career or his livelihood.

Here is what he wrote (in all caps):


I replied:

I have attempted to get in touch with you. I think your art is great. I drove 10 hours to see your exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in 1998 and was blown away. I wish we had met under better circumstances. I understand you do not want me to continue my Free Chuck Close Filter, but I would like the opportunity to talk with you before you take any legal action. I believe my website is not copying your art, but rather is a logical extension of the creative process. Please consider talking with me before you make legal decision, from one artist to another.

Close wrote back:

Even if your motives are not bad, I still do not want my work trivialized. I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I can’t fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name. It may be an amusing project and many people might like it, but it is MY art that is trivialized, MY career you are jeopardizing, MY legacy, which I have to think about for my children, and MY livelihood. I must fight to protect it. I hope you will realize the harm you are doing me and my work that you claim you admire and voluntarily shut down the site so as to avoid a law-suit.

I responded:

I respect your decision, and I have shut my free online filter down. I feel obligated to help stop this from happening again. I believe it is better to respond to the situation than delete the project without any explanation. Please review

He wrote:

Thank you so much for your decision. I must say I didn’t expect it. It means a lot to me that you were able to understand my point of view. Thank you. Im in Germany till the end of December, but after I’m back and if you are in New York City, come by and say hello.

The last thing I said to him was:

Thank you for accepting my sincere apology, and especially for inviting me to your New York City studio. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, but I might make a special trip just to see you.

I have trouble believing there’s a realistic copyright claim here. If anything, I’d think he would have a stronger publicity rights claim (or possibly trademark name if he’s trademarked his name, though a quick USPTO search fails to find a trademark on Chuck Close), but publicity rights claims are a bit messy (and vary state to state) so even that’s not entirely clear. But the larger point is how shameful it is for Close to legally threaten another creative individual for doing something that, if anything, would inspire greater interest in Chuck Close’s work. The idea that the filter “jeopardizes” Close’s career makes no sense at all. Who is really going to see a filtered image and suddenly think they no longer need to see Close’s real work? If anything it’s likely to inspire the exact opposite.

Separately, Close is grossly misinformed in saying that he has to take legal action or he loses the ability to do so with others. While something sort of like that (but not quite) is true with trademark law, it’s entirely permissible to ignore infringement under copyright (or even to issue free licenses to those you like).

But the weirdest claim is that this hurts his “legacy.” I would argue that being an absolute jerk to someone who created a filter as an homage to you hurts your legacy a hell of a lot more than the filter itself.

Blake notes that while he has shut down the site, he has a plan. Recognizing that eventually Close’s works will go into the public domain, he’s made plans for the filter to be re-released in 100 years after Close’s death, on the assumption (perhaps not a good one due to extensions) that the works will be public domain by then:

I asked my lawyer friend if I could release my Chuck Close Filter 100 years after Close dies and his copyright runs out; my lawyer assured me that I could do so without fear of reprisal. I have not made Close aware of my plans, but if he finds out, I would be surprised if he wasn’t insulted. Don’t get me wrong, I know we will both be dead in 100 years, but the point is that our art will live on, and that is what matters to me most. We all have a legacy to think about; Chuck Close isn’t the only one.

Blake also challenges some of Close’s claims of originality, including his argument that his paintings came along before computer generated art. Blake shows that’s not true, and even shows some compelling evidence that there’s at least a greater-than-zero chance that Close, in fact, was inspired by computer generated art that pre-dated his own. Either way, Blake has decided that the best plan at this point — if he can’t actually offer a Chuck Close filter — is to make sure the world knows that Chuck Close acts this way towards fans and those who create tools that celebrate him.

I believe my art is fair use, but I don’t have a war chest to back up that assertion in a courtroom, so the wealthy bully wins by default. My only recourse is to publicize my defeat in order to shine a light on these types of situations. My hope is that Chuck Close develops a sense of shame and regret, realizes his mistake and offers up an apology. I want this article to serve as a point of reference for current and future artists. The worst part about this whole mess is that it makes established visual artists like Close seem petty. By not embracing new and interesting ways of making art, he is contributing to the widening of the generation gap. His irrational fear of computers has made him wildly out of touch with my generation and generations to come. I feel he singled me out because I choose to work in a medium that he finds inferior.

I think Close is confusing enterprise with creativity; they are not the same and in some cases can work against one another. In the end, I believe Close’s misguided and hypocritical actions will do more harm to his legacy than any so-called “derivative art” could ever do. His behavior has left me no choice but to carry out my 100-year plan.

It’s always disappointing to see artists harm the works of others with excessive copyright claims. There’s simply no reason that Close needed to act this way, and count me among those who has shifted from being a fan of Close’s work to someone who just isn’t interested in supporting him in any way after actions like this.

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Comments on “Chuck Close Succeeds In Stifling A Creative Homage… But Only For Another 100 Years Or So!”

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Rea Litie says:

Re: Why boycott such a nice guy?

I don’t care how good an artist is (or rather, how much I appreciate their sensitivities), if they behave like a scumbag then I am disinclined toward supporting any further propagation of their art.

But in what are supposedly his comments, the “artist” comes across as such a nice and humble guy genuinely appreciative to the world for his success and completely devoid of any hint of ego. Or maybe just another business.

On a related note: copyright must be killed dead. Whatever the lies of its original purpose (and even centuries-old pure bullshit still sounds like pure bullshit), it is being used by very EVIL “people” as a weapon to accomplish even more EVIL.

L.A.B says:

Re: Re: Why boycott such a nice guy?

That is the most ridiculous statement I have heard in awhile. Many artist get paid and live off of licensing. Obviously you do not. Music COSTS to record. Television shows and Movies COST to produce. I was not EVIL the last time I was in the studio recording music. Nor will I be EVIL when I copyright the songs. Nor Will I be EVIL when I license a TV show to use them. And I do expect and deserve to get PAID for it.All of it is based on copyright.

Pseudonym (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You may have missed this detail, where Close lays out his real reason:

I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I can?t fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name.

I don’t think Close is “behaving like a scumbag”. His central concern is valid. The legal system is so screwed up that Close needs to fight this whether he wants to or not.

There are certainly faults on both sides; Blake shouldn’t, for example, have used Close’s name. In Close’s mind, this may be the lesser of two evils. It’s still evil, but not necessarily scumbag behaviour.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Read the article. What you state is not true. He does not need to fight this, and not fighting it does not dilute his rights. You’re thinking of trademark, and it isn’t necessarily true there, either.

So, no, his central concern is not valid.
Yes, he’s behaving like a scumbag.
And no, Black should not have used Close’s name.

Agreeing with one out of three points isn’t bad. Better than most!

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not that you care because you’re too busy whining and being snarky about someone else you think is being whiny and snarky to notice that has been around a lot longer than just the past couple of weeks. If anything he added a page which, I’m sure is same one he put up on the “infringing” site and Close has seen and approved of what was said there.

Go have some more whine with your lunch please 🙂

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: What Whine?

All he’s done is communicate Chuck Close’s desires and wants, which is to day that he doesn’t want to see collages etc of his art reproduced, mixed and otherwise “degraded” by art made using software.

If anyone is whinging it’s Close.

Blake only passed on, in point form, what he and Close had discussed. To go by the emails Close has seen what’s there and approved of it.

Blake is right in his assertion of a generational divide on how art is made between how Close sees it and how he sees it. I suspect many other “traditional” painters do as well.

Let’s remember Close himself bases his work on portrait photos which, I assume, he had permission to use as the professional photographer who took the portrait would be the copyright owner of those. After this I hope he did.

MrWilson says:

Re: Making a new one

This is what I think is the blind spot for Blake. All he has to do is dissociate the filter from Close. Remove Close’s name from the project. Don’t mention him at all as a source of inspiration (because Close apparently wants no new fans to stumble upon his work through Blake). Then just illustrate the use of the filter as a photo mosaic filter and that’s that. No infringement. No fear of legal threats. Close can’t patent the technique, especially if it’s just procedural.

But if Blake just sits on it until he dies and then it’s released in 100 years, it’ll be irrelevant, if even remembered, because in the mean time (and maybe even soon because of this story getting out) someone else will have duplicated the filter’s functionality without making the mistake of using a touchy, legally ill-informed artist’s name or a reference to their work.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Making a new one

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the filter is already out there in the wild. So while Blake may have taken it off line after what’s happened it’ll start popping up elsewhere.

Close is better served and would have been better served putting a zipper on it because it’s out of both Blake’s and his control in the event that it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Making a new one

I completely agree.
With no referance to the artist this technique should be completely legal, no matter what.
There is something to be said about fighting it to avoid more “egregious works”. It is a legal tradition in some civil courts, that you have to sue someone you know is using your work without permission because if you do not, for a long enough period, it will be seen as an implicit permission (which is logical if you think about it.).
Therefore it would be stupid of him to ignore the knowledge of the site and just do nothing.
The best way to go for Close would be to give permission since it would put him in a better light publicly and he would avoid having to deal with “legal reasoning”.
On the other hand: If he feel so strongly against it because of the naming, I think it is the right thing to do, to treat it like a potential upcoming case…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Making a new one

It really does devalue him as an artist. I mean if I wanted Close to paint me and then noticed that a website can do the same thing in about 30 seconds I probably would go that route. Of course if I was pretentious enough to want Close to paint me then I would probably still want that so I could brag about it and Close doesn’t do requests anyway so it is not like this would drive business away.

Bit it must sting a little bit to know a computer can do in 30 seconds the one thing that made you unique and famous.

drew (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Making a new one

The point is these two things are not in competition. If you’ve got the cash to be seriously considering getting Close to paint you, then you’re probably not interested in a computer generated mosaic. If you haven’t got the cash for a genuine Close then, again, you’re not in competition.
It’s like the fake vs real Rolex, they’re actually serving different markets.
As long as there’s no actual danger of customer confusion, where is the harm?

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Frak?

I like the idea. There is no law saying you can be the sole owner of a general idea. Anything regarding copyright and patents are supposed to be specific. Just because Close has a ‘style’ doesn’t me nobody else can use it.

(Note that I understand our patent office is way off base and pretty much does approve patents for general ideas these days, that is however not what they are supposed to be doing)

Colin (user link) says:

I must fight you because if I know of your project, and do nothing to exercise my legal rights, that will put me in a position where I can?t fight the next, even more egregious usage of my copyrighted image and use of my name.

Is it not possible for him to give his approval for one project, while not allowing it on other, future projects he might not agree with? Or even “license” it for a dollar or something?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Entirely possible. For free or for a licensing fee or by a granting the output of the filter if Close doesn’t think it’s up to his standards some variety of Creative Commons Attribution license, in this case I’d suspect no commercial use and have had Blake put the license widget on a corner of the filtered work along with Close’s name and make sure the filter uses a watermark layer as well.

Close keeps his copyright, which he would have anyway, gains control over the uses of the results of the via the Creative Commons License and takes away any commercial value some twerp might think it has through the watermarks and the use of the NC switch on the CC license.

There were and still are lots of avenues other than threatening a lawsuit.

All Close may have done is to have set off the Streisand Effect where the filter, if it’s in the wild now, starts getting used again off line before posting the results and suddenly the world is awash with Close works run through the darned thing. Or, now that this has happened, a far superior filter will start making the rounds. One that works in The GIMP, Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. I’d rather that didn’t happen but I’d be blind, deaf and dumb if I didn’t say that very soon something will surface.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, please don’t put this under copyright-as-censorship. It’s just another artist thinking he is entitled to making sure nobody copies him even if it does no harm. And what he doesn’t understand that the tech is already out there so all this is meaningless since more people will be inspired to do the same just to spite him.

Anonymous Howard, Cowering says:

Why wait 100 years?

Change the name to NotCloseToChucksArt and re-post it. Those who are curious can find the touchy artist’s copyrighted works easily enough, and there would not even be a trademark/publicity rights claim available.

Mr. Close’s inflamed sense of entitlement (“…MY legacy, which I have to think about for my children”…) seems to be nearing professional sepsis.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why wait 100 years?

Ugh, the “legacy” stuff sticks in my craw. Why exactly should his kids have any control over images they didn’t create well after this guy is long dead? What’s he gonna do if he’s gone to the great beyond and his descendants throw all his stuff into the public domain? come back and…push a salt shaker off a shelf or something?

If by “legacy” he means “income generation”, then give them your money now, Chuckles, don’t make them wait til yer dead. Copyright’s too damn long and should not have anything to do with lifespan, makes some people weird.

Share back and lighten the hell up, Mr. Close; you’ll live better, if not longer.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

Good grief. If I were Blake, and I received the “thank you for understanding my position” crap he did, the email I would have sent would have been:


I’ve taken down my respect of your work and replaced it with how much I dislike you and your attitude, which now turns your works into the ugliest things I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Thank you for the opportunity of showing me how you truly feel about art which I can now share with the world.”

But that’s just me.

Anonymous Coward says:

My mother once gave each of her students a square with a distinct pattern on it and instructed each student to reproduce their square with assorted construction paper and paste. Each student made their own choices about shades of paper and had different skill with the scissors, and the result, once the students’ reproductions were assembled, was a striking (and enormous!) mosaic reproduction of this famous portrait.
I suppose Close will have to fight her as well, lest he lose the ability to “preserve his legacy”.

Anonymous Coward says:

I asked my lawyer friend if I could release my Chuck Close Filter 100 years after Close dies and his copyright runs out; my lawyer assured me that I could do so without fear of reprisal.

Careful there, dudes. That’s still plenty of time for the cartels to have copyright protection extended a few more decades.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Chuck Who

Don’t know don’t care, and he is doing everything in his power to keep it that way.

Never heard of Chuck Close myself, but I think he should change his name because it’s too similar to Chuck Nice, who is an artist I love and respect.

/sarc (well, except for the Chuck Nice part, he really is a great guy. Happy that he is now a regular on Startalk Radio.)

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Aesthetics

And what of Blake’s art?

Besides, one man’s “trivialization” is another man’s homage, and another man’s critique, and another man’s independent idea, and another man’s improvement… Do you really believe artists have the moral right you are attributing to them?

I don’t.

Once an artist has released his work to the world, it’s not up to him what others build on top of it, or how they react to it. If someone wrote a bad review of Close’s work, should Close be able to censor that review for “trivializing” him?

Mark Meldola says:

Re: Re: Aesthetics

Blake does not have art. He has a technical gimmick. I have to wonder what level of disrespect for an artist’s work you find unacceptable. You are correct in stating that an artist has incomplete control over his work, though. A vandal can stencil over a work by Picasso in a Houston museum and that is acceptable because he is just “building on top of it.”? I’m sure the vandal was just paying homage…

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Aesthetics

Who decides what’s art and what’s a gimmick? Lots of great art has been dismissed for a variety of reasons. Lots of art today is dismissed as a gimmick by one group while being revered by another.

And, please, let’s not be completely ridiculous and compare this to defacing an original painting. In that situation, the original work is irretrievably lost — nobody is condoning the destruction of one piece of art in order to create another.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Aesthetics

I used the worst example (defacement) because I’m hoping to elicit from you just what is the level of disrespect for an an artist’s work you would find unacceptable.

Let me ask you a question… do you find Mr. Close’s transformation of photos into his art pieces disrespectful to the original photographer?

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Aesthetics

This has nothing to do with “respect”, and that is not a distinction I make.

I am opposed to the defacement because it destroys the original. Anything that doesn’t impact the original, such as what Blake did here, is fine in my books. Sorry, I have no interest in “respect” for artists – a great deal of art is based on disrespect for things, sometimes artists who came before. I’m not going to stand here and tell artists what is okay and not okay for them to say/make. So if someone wants to print out copies of PIcasso, or of a living working artist’s painting that they just released yesterday, and then spraypaint stuff on it and sell it — I think that’s completely fine. Nobody is harmed, even if some people are “disrespected”. A rich culture requires the right to disrespect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Aesthetics

You don’t think that turning something from a unique art medium into McDonalds fast food art doesn’t in some ways take away from the original? Moreover, do you not think that respecting the artist’s wishes in the area is not perhaps more important than turning the art form into a plastic, 10 minute internet trend?

Respect is key – clearly something you aren’t familiar with.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Aesthetics

What I think is that the moment any one person or group of people starts deciding what art is good and what art is bad, and what art is allowed to exist, that’s a very very bad thing.

You can try to make it sound trite and obvious by pulling bullshit examples like the Mona Lisa versus a napkin doodle, but we all know that a comparison like that is not where the problem lies. As I said, many great artistic movements were initially dismissed as inferior or stupid. Once you start drawing lines, where do you stop?

Respect is key – respect for art, not for a particular artist. Humility is also key – the recognition that you have absolutely no right or ability to pass judgement on which art is objectively more valuable.

Mark Meldola says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Aesthetics

I need to pull out of this thread; I agree respect is key, but I don’t have confidence that it is a value shared by those who replied to my original post. I don’t think your examples were BS. I love the fight against SOPA, CISPA, and Apple’s legal bullying; I have recommended techdirt to like- minded friends favoring innovation and I will continue to do so, but the disrespect to artists is an entirely different and reprehensible position.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Aesthetics

“…the disrespect to artists is an entirely different and reprehensible position.”

The disrespect shown by some artists is equally reprehensible position to many people. Artists who are concerned about their “career, legacy, children, and livelihood” (Close’s words) should consider that before they act in a manner that alienates potential fans and customers. I’m quite certain his actions will lose him more sales than it will gain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Aesthetics

Respect for what?
The overreaction by some guy who probably don’t even understand what it is involved?

The guy didn’t copy his art it made use of his techinique which is not covered by copyrights at all and doesn’t require “respect”, “permission” or any of the load terms you want to use.

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Aesthetics

“I don’t think you have a clue about what it means to trivialize someone’s art. Artists who do not wish to see
their art trivialized should be respected.”

And why should we respect the wishes of one person to feel special over another person or persons wishes to create cool stuff?

Which is of greater benefit to society?

Copyright is not, have never been, and should never be about protecting someone’s feelings.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Aesthetics

Artists who do not wish to see
their art trivialized

Given the origin of “trivial”:

Latin trivialis found everywhere, commonplace,

I can’t imagine anything more trivial than art anyway. “Art” is everywhere and potentialy in everything.

More to the point, how does copying a style do anything to the worth of the original art? Is Van Gogh’s work made less worthy by someone having themselves painted in the style of his self portrait? To my mind, if art can be “trivialsed” so easily it really can’t have been that great in the first place.

L.A.B (profile) says:

Chuck Close

I see nothing wrong with Chuck Close’s behavior. Look, the guy comes up with a process to make art that he made famous. Some fan sets up a site using his NAME and he is not associated with it.I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the fan to stop. The fan can keep the site up just call it something else! So many times on here people imply that copyright is a hindrance. Only seems like people that are not artist feel they are entitled to use and reproduce something that someone else created…You do not. The amount of money Chuck Close is worth is utterly irrelevent

Lord Binky says:

Re: Chuck Close

The amount of money Chuck Close is worth is relevent when the outcome of a legal battle is dependent on the amount of money a person can spend… What Chuck Close asked for was the removal of the site, not the removal of any direct of implied associations with his name. If the guy removed Close’s name, Close wouldnt’ have any further legal ground to stand on,but that still wouldn’t mean that Chuck Close ‘feels’ butt-hurt and wronged in some way and would likely turn to legal action because it is easier, and a proven high success rate, to force someone to do what you want with the threat of large debt instead of many other methods like ‘talking’.

squirrel (profile) says:

Re: Chuck Close

I have great respect for Chuck Close’s work. I think, no matter how wrong he might be in this matter, he handled his correspondence with respect. I however wish he would have just asked to have his name removed from the project. At least by his direct communication, I can keep some respect for the man.

His style came from surviving horrendous physical tragedy and emotional pain; I completely understand his urge to keep a tight grip on the style that allowed him to keep working.

That being said, his actions are an over-reach in my opinion, but understandable from a human perspective.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Chuck Close

“…the guy comes up with a process to make art that he made famous…”

He did not make it famous. His audience, his fans, did. He owes those supporters everything he has, without them he would wallow in obscurity.

“…seems like people that are not artist feel they are entitled to use and reproduce something that someone else created…”

As Mr. Close did by reproducing photographs in a different medium? As Mr. Close (or any artist) did by educating and training himself in the arts over his long career? I wouldn’t call what Mr. Close does “reproducing” a photo, he is reinterpreting it in his own way using his own methods. What Blake did is even further removed from reproducing anyone’s work since it’s purely a method or process, a tool to be used. Like a paintbrush or a thumb used to create a painting of a photograph.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Chuck Close

If you’ve seen a Close work in real life, the fact that it came from a photograph is irrelevant. The fact that it’s not a photograph is what makes it art. For starters, Close works tend to be 12 feet tall.

And I could say the same for Blake’s software – it could never be mistaken for a Close work any more than a Close work would be mistaken for the original photo.

Perhaps the greatest offense Blake did was come up with a lousy url –

dennis deems says:

Re: Chuck Close

“the guy comes up with a process to make art”

Is there a single component of his process that hadn’t been done before by other artists? I’d really like to know this. As far as I can tell, all he does is bring various techniques together. His style seems to me little more than a parody of the four-color printing process, something we have thanks to the skilled innovations of a number of far more gifted artists than Close. What an inflated, narcissistic gas bag.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Chuck Close

the guy comes up with a process to make art

Is there a single component of his process that hadn’t been done before by other artists? I’d really like to know

Why does it matter who came up with this process?

17 USC ? 102 – Subject matter of copyright: In general

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

Copyright doesn’t extend to processes. The Copyright Act sez so right there.

So why does it matter who came up with the process?

dennis deems says:

Re: Re: Re: Chuck Close

“So why does it matter who came up with the process?”

It doesn’t in the least, but L.A.B. seems to think it does. Both he and Close seem to think the process itself is something that merits special protection. As an artist, I am curious about the process of other artists, and where they come from, but it has no bearing on the controversy.

L.A.B says:

Re: Re: Chuck Close

Every artist has influences. Those that they have taken from and synthesized into their own style. Whether you find his work innovative or derivative does not lessen the fact the process is linked to him and His name. As such, he has the right to issue a cease and desist. What his initial email was

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Legacy intact...

Well Mr Close’s legacy is definitely far more secure as far as I’m concerned now. After all, up to now when I’ve seen images like that I’ve thought, “Well that’s a mildly cool way to transform a picture, I wonder who came up with that”, without too much interest. From now on though, I’ll be able to think “Oh, that’s that thing by that guy with his head so far up his own…..”

Anonymous Coward says:

Chuck Close should send a letter to Wikipedia demanding they takedown the photos of his work from there and use the Google search to takedown all the photos of his work out there, that would be wonderful.

He also should sue for (laughing) copyright infringement all the video codecs out there that use squares to recreate pieces of image, this is why all images have blocky artifacts because they are divided into squares that are filled with image data after, frak look at how JPEG does compression.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

100 year old software

If his plan is to not release the software until 100 years from when the artists dies, then he might as well just delete it.

Its sometimes difficult to get 10 year old software to run on current hardware/operating systems (for example written for WindowsXP, trying to get to run under Windows 7). Add in the same problems we face with digital archival – hardware and formats may no longer exist to be able to read something after extended time periods.

While it’s not clear exactly how his filter works, I can bet that Photoshop version 2112 won’t recognize it.

MP says:

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one bothered by the fact that he cut up Chuck Close’s original paintings to make this program? If he isn’t a using a gimmick and trying to make a name for himself by using Close’s name, wouldn’t he have recreated mosaics as well to program this? You can’t tell me that he wasn’t thinking about the traffic he would get for having that name in his domain address. I think it’s almost insulting that he cut up the original artwork on the computer into the squares to program it the way he did. That’s what bugs me the most. That’s what trivializes it and spits in Close’s face. Considering this, I think Close handled it well.

newsgrist (profile) says:

confidence trixter

There’s another side to this story, which is that Blake is actually a creepy profiteer. He verges on stalker. Poor Chuck Close has stepped in shit by engaging this character at all, who now appears to be an underdog in a story about copyright/ownership. When he’s not. We’re not talking copyright anymore. This one’s actually about harassment and self-promotion.

Fred Gutzeit says:

Chuck Close Filter

I don’t think a filter of Chuck’s work is a creative idea–it’s inventive maybe certainly derivative. BLAKE should leave Chuck alone and create his OWN WORK. Furthermore I’ve known Chuck’s work for more than 50 years and the seeming pixilation in the the development of his process comes from the ancient use in art of the GRID.

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