Friday, August 29, 2008
There's a controversy concerning the top award winner in a national competition this year. It appears the subject is identical to a photograph posted on a stock-photo site, and the original photographer is hopping mad. There are several issues here. The first is the violation of the photographer's copyright. The photo site terms of service state that the photographers who post their images on the site are the sole owners of the copyright. The second is that the show prospectus bars copies from competition, so even if the photographer gave the artist permission to use the photo, it wouldn't be ethical to send the work to the competition. This is a messy situation, as the artist has won awards with similar works in other shows and was quoted in a published article describing how the photos were taken for the compositions. One artist suggested that the artist may have inkjet-printed the photo onto watercolor paper and painted over it in a pointillist manner. Is that possible? I have no idea. Since the outcry began, her website, video clips and images have vanished from the Web. More recently, (this noted in 10/23/08) the thread where thousands of artists publicly discussed the situation has been removed from WetCanvas. Has censorship of free speech been added to this nasty mix?