Thursday 19 June 2008


This Village Voice article caught my eye this week - Artist, Fan Clash Over What Constitutes Online Piracy. Artist Alex Grey has filed a copyright-infringement suit against Juan Pablo Fernandez, a big fan of Grey's work who buys prints legitimately, frames them, then resells them on Ebay.

It's not the on-selling that bothers Grey: it's that Fernandez is making digital images of his work available. From the article:

Whether online photos of artwork constitute illegal reproductions is a murky legal question, but one that is hugely important to sellers on eBay, CraigsList, Amazon, and other venues where people often resell their possessions. While publishing a photo of a copyrighted work for the purpose of reselling it certainly can be legitimate, it's a question of interpretation, says Paul Fakler, vice chair of the New York State Bar's intellectual-property section: "The courts have a lot of latitude on deciding what is fair."

I know this is an American example, but I had been wondering recently: do auction houses have to get copyright permission to reproduce artworks in print and online catalogues, or is this covered by the 'fair use' clause of copyright law? Does anyone know?

No comments: