If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What’s the Original?

“Since the late 1970s, when Richard Prince became known as a pioneer of appropriation art — photographing other photographs, usually from magazine ads, then enlarging and exhibiting them in galleries — the question has always hovered just outside the frames: What do the photographers who took the original pictures think of these pictures of their pictures, apotheosized into art but without their names anywhere in sight?”

If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What’s the Original? RANDY KENNEDY New York Times 12/6/07

Posted by: Tanya


One response to “If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What’s the Original?

  1. Prince is relying on the “fair use” element of copyright law. Whether or not his “appropriation” (nice word) of Jim Krantz’s original photo is actually fair use is open for debate.

    As a commercial photographer, Krantz had to sell the rights to the photo to the company that hired him. It would take initiative by that company to challenge whether Prince’s usage is in fact “fair use”

    This is what copyright law says about fair use
    In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

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