Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fair Use and Copyright Free...for now

It's easy to say that a work has become so much a part of popular culture that we need not recognize its creator. This happens in advertising primarily because the medium is the message -- we are trained to recognize the green siren mermaid of Starbucks, for example. But who has given serious thought to the firm who designed that logo? Interested? Stumble onto this site.

But is this a different matter when we're dealing with fine art from the get-go? What about a photograph that serves as source material for a now-iconic print-- here, I am referring to the Che Guevara print created by Jim Fitzpatrick in 1968. While Fitzpatrick distributed that image, for free, to revolutionaries, it has become fodder for capitalism. On our campus, alone, I have seen numerous depictions in posters, t-shirts, and stickers. The image has become the symbol of revolution, rebellion, and revolt -- internationally and among more than the 20-something crowds.

Now, after allowing the image he created to be reproduced free of charge, Fitzpatrick said he intends to secure copyright and, then, transfer the rights of ownership to Guevara's family. He hopes that copyright monies will be put to good use, such as building a hospital in Cuba.

1 comment:

Mexifem said...

I have a question for peeps who know more about copyright issues than I do: can you copyright an image/photo even after it has entered into the public realm on such an extreme scale as the Che image?

Will he be able to copyright this image? Does the copyright-granting institution take the already-existing public status of the image into consideration?