Despite the black and white nature of copyright, it has never been an easy issue to solve. Conflicts over creative copyright occur all of the time, it’s an inescapable occurrence. We consider some of the most famous legal cases that have had a major public impact on the discussion of copyright – how it’s handled, what it means, and why it’s relevant.

1. Rogers vs. Koons

A case study

In a photograph taken by Art Rogers, a couple is holding up a line of puppies in a row. The picture was sold for use in greeting cards and other The artist Jeff Koons used Rodgers’ photograph to create a set of sculptures based on an exhibit on the banality of everyday objects. Koons created the statues in the process of creating a show on the banality of everyday items. In the end, Koons was able to make a great profit from the sale of his structures. Rodgers took Koons to court for copying right after discovering the new copy. He replied with a parody that he claimed was fair use.

Outcome

In its ruling, the court noted that the two images were too similar, and that a “typical person” would be able to recognize it as a The defense of Koon was rejected due to the argument that he could have sourced a more generic source to make the same point – without copying Rogers’. As a result of the settlement, Koons was forced to pay

Significance

There was a famous case in the art world that I believe encompassed a larger issue, the issue of appropriation art. You can do this by building on someone else’s work, but does it make the piece Can you use the work in that way without it being considered derivative?

Would you say you have created a derivative work that has taken away from the artistic value of the original?

2. The Associated Press vs. Fairey

A case study

The Hope poster was designed by Shephard Fairey during President Obama’s first run for president in 2008 by legendary street artist Shephard Fairey. A design favored by the campaign quickly became an official symbol for the Obama campaign despite being technically independent of it. As of January 2009, Fairey’s photograph upon which the design was allegedly based was revealed by the Associated Press as one taken by AP freelancer Mannie Garcia – with the AP demanding compensation for its use in Fairey’s The photographer responded to Fairey’s complaint with the claim of fair use, asserting that his work did not diminish the original photograph’s value.

Outcome

In January 2011, the artist and the AP press reached an agreement in which they agreed to split the profits for the work among themselves.

Significance

It’s important to note that after this case, despite there having been no court case and no actual verdict, a lot of discourse has ensued around the value of work in Despite the enormous fame Garcia was given for his work, it almost never could have achieved the level of recognition it did if it were not for Fairey’s Despite the fact that Garcia was “proud of the photograph and what Fairey did with it artistically, and the effect it has had,” he continued to have a problem with the fact that Fairey took the image without permission and without crediting the original creator. There is no such thing as too much Generally speaking, you cannot use licensed work on 99designs – however, in some exceptional circumstances, you can use stock images. To be able to do so, you must make sure the source is known.

3. Cariou vs. Prince

A case study

A well known example of an appropriation artist is Richard Prince, who transforms other people’s work to create new meaning in his own. In an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, Prince appropriated 41 illustrations from a book by French photographer Patrick Cariou, claiming fair use in the sense of creating new meaning from the images. It was not fair use, but infringement of copyright. By contrast, Cariou argued that it was.

Outcome

Ultimately, it was established that Cariou’s photographs didn’t change enough to constitute a change in meaning – fair use, for which a judge ruled in his favor in 2011. At present, the case is going through an appeal process, so a final decision has not yet been made.

Significance

In this case, the initial ruling in favor of Cariou has caused a great deal of division within the arts A question of artistic intent and subjectivity is raised here, as to “who was this judge to decide whether the appropriated artwork had enough meaning to be considered fair use” when the artwork can be viewed in many different ways by each person that views It is still too early to say what the verdict will be.

Imitation vs. inspiration

Make sure your work is unique, and don’t create something similar to another’s. If you are going to create something original, you must make sure it is not a

Update 4/25/2013

The original decision in this case was reversed just two weeks after it was published, with the judge ruling in favor of Prince for most of the works in dispute, claiming Prince’s work transformed the original work in a way that made it aesthetically unique, and thus acceptable as acceptable On the New York Times and on Hyperallergic, there are more details about the ruling and the five pieces that are still under review by a lower court.

4. Modern Dog Design vs. Target Corporation

A case study

Design firm Modern Dog used illustrations of dogs in a Chronicle Books book released in 2008 with the title Dogs in Seattle. Plaintiffs, who filed a lawsuit in 2011, allege that illustrations from that design have been used on a T-shirt for sale produced by Disney/Target.

Outcome

To be determined. As of right now, Modern Dog has not yet been able to reach a decision in this case, but it has campaigned online pretty heavily for publicity and funds to cover its legal fees.

Significance

Several designers and artists have been left with the same question after reading about the Modern Dog case – what happens if a major corporation with the resources to do it, uses my art to make a In order to cover the legal fees associated with this battle, Modern Dog was recently forced to sell their studio. Other than that, they are currently facing an extremely challenging situation. As for how this progresses and continues to affect the discourse around this issue, we will have to watch it closely. It is always a good idea to No matter who you’re going up against – if you think your design is right, then let them know.

5. Vanilla Ice vs. David Bowie/Freddie Mercury

A case study

When Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby hit in 1991, it sampled but did not credit David Bowie’s Under Pressure by Queen but had the same sales success. Even though Vanilla Ice claimed he had made the comment, he later recanted and called it an “all-joking” statement. When Vanilla Ice’s name was mentioned in a lawsuit by the duo, he admitted to sampling their

Outcome

Ice paid an undeclared sum of money and gave credit to Bowie/Queen on the track as part of a private settlement out of court.

Significance

As far as design is concerned, there aren’t a lot of implications based on this (except, don’t steal other people’s work). It couldn’t help but make it into the text. There has never been a copyright case quite like this.

By Cheng