Funny How A Little Public Pressure Makes Artist's Estate Back Down

from the sunlight-as-a-disinfectant dept

Last week, we wrote about the rather bizarre case of the estate of artist Roy Lichtenstein threatening a band for using an image for their album cover that was "appropriated" from the same original comic that Lichtenstein himself appropriated for one of his works. The whole thing was a bit confusing and demonstrated some of the more ridiculous parts of copyright law. Either way, all the talk about it -- including a lot of people mocking the Lichtenstein estate's position -- seems to have convinced the estate to backdown. Either that or they spoke to a lawyer and realized that the claim would have been pretty weak, given that Lichtenstein himself also copied the image. Perhaps next time the Lichtenstein estate will think twice before sending out a questionable threat letter.

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  • identicon
    awd, 11 May 2010 @ 3:25am

    Funny to think they "only" have another 57 years before their copyrights expire. Even though the actual artist has been dead for a while now..

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

  • identicon
    Alatar, 11 May 2010 @ 3:46am

    Funny... or not

    Or not so funny... For one case that makes it to the mainstream media, how many empty threats like this one end up with the alleged "infringer" taking down the content, facing legal fees he cannot afford?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 4:11am

    If the estate had won, then would copyright infringers become the new holders on works they copied if, for instance, a byte got mangled in the torrenting process?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 4:44am

    The Lichtenstein estate infringed upon that copyright fair and square.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 6:07am

    is it public exposure that did it, or more likely that they were surprised to find someone at the other end that would fight it at all? legal costs are such these days that many people will fold rather than fight. i have seen plenty of legal letters that are more to do with hoping you back down than actually having a legal leg to stand on. copyright isnt unique in his manner.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    Mike, can you please remove this guy's spam links? He's got 0-content posts with links to a shady site.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 6:23am

      Re: Re:

      Thanks!

      Back on topic, I think just exemplifies our shoot first and ask questions later mentality when it comes to litigation. People should apply the "think before you speak" adage to lawsuits too.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 11 May 2010 @ 6:32am

    Think Twice?

    > Perhaps next time the Lichtenstein estate will think twice
    > before sending out a questionable threat letter.


    Think twice?

    Aren't you setting high hopes?

    I'd be happy if they thought just once. :-)

    The typical threat letters, of all kinds, seem to usually be thought about exactly zero times.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2010 @ 7:16am

    Derivitive works

    This one looks rather cut and dried... whats really funny is when people start fighting over very derivative works... and there are a lot of derivative works. Think along the lines of something like HG Wells War of the Worlds.. or Sherlock Homes.

    The lawsuits get interesting when one derivative influences another derivative work more then the original work did.

    Gotta love lawsuits.

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

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 11 May 2010 @ 7:48am

    Hey - that's OURS; our relative stole it!

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

  • icon
    WammerJammer (profile), 11 May 2010 @ 7:59am

    Isn't this the way business is done?

    What's the problem? Our history is full of one borrowing from another and making something out of it. Apple stole / borrowed the Graphics Interface and Pointer (Mouse) code from Xerox to create a Mac. Microsoft borrowed / stole from Apple to create Windows. Cisco borrowed / stole the design and code for Routers from Stanford and never paid them a dime until 10 years after they stole it.
    It's nothing new and it not only affects Copyrights, it has bled over into Patents. Examining the patent for Second Life, which was a unique one of a kind program. I found that it was forced to rely on 17 other patents in order to be realized. Patents as obscure as the type of screen you viewed it on. It looked like a joke.
    You can't create anything original anymore without someone holding a Copyright or Patent for part of your idea. It has literally made any creative endeavor for the normal person almost impossible to protect themselves. When you do have a good idea you wind up paying royalties to a bunch of companies that had nothing to do with your idea. But this is called competition and is healthy?
    I am a songwriter and performer and have written and co-written several albums of music. But because I am indie and privately (self) published I get no protection from the RIAA or any other agency. I have copyrights and because I am not with the big 3 the RIAA could care less about me. But the Radio Stations my music is played on pays the royalties to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. They collect the fees for my music but refuse to pay me unless I sue.
    This system SUCKS WAZOO and is against the people. Any politician that supports this kind of tyranny deserves whatever the people do to them. The main problem is that the creative part of our society is very small and as such can be manipulated.

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

  • icon
    Jupiter (profile), 11 May 2010 @ 9:58am

    All creative art of monetary value eventually ends up in the possession of lawyers - usually lawyers working for big companies whose sole purpose is making money from that art. That's the way the system is gamed. That's why copyright extends way beyond death, so the lawyers can feed on the estate. Hmm... I wonder who came up with those laws?

    Artists should revolt, but the big companies give them just enough money to keep them pacified while keeping the lion's share for themselves. I guess they think artists should just be happy making art.

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

  • icon
    Karl (profile), 11 May 2010 @ 11:20am

    Teaching moment

    Hopefully this will be a "teaching moment" for the Lichtenstein estate, and maybe for other artists and their estates. Though I'm not really holding my breath.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens when Shepard Fairey dies, and his offspring want a slice of his pie.

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


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