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Artist re-uses flickr pictures in their art

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by wt21, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    This is a "no big deal" kind of thing, but after thinking a bit more about it, I wonder about copyright issues.

    From the Wall Street Journal this morning, an article on the proliferation of camera phones and how it impacts photography.

    One side not in the article talks about how Amsterdam-based artist-design Erik Kessels used 950,000 pictures posted on flickr in a 24 hour period in 2011, for his art piece.

    http://www.complex.com/art-design/2...r-photo-installation-on-show-in-san-francisco

    It's a pile of pics, so it's very unlikely anything personal would be noticed. It's certainly a mole hill thing, and I don't want to focus on this one artist, but can you really just download someone's picture and use it in a larger artwork like this?

    I find it kind of degrading to the time and effort put in by the original photographer, and I wonder about it's legality, or at least the Flickr TOS. Or, does the use of the photo (printed and tossed into the pile) alter the original work enough, to make it OK for copyright?

    Just curious what others might think.
     
  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    there have been court cases about this sort of thing within the last year, but i can't remember the details or the outcomes. there might have been threads at RFF about them if you can tolerate the place

    i haven't read the linked article, but remember that flickr users can have their pics made available as "free use" as one of a number of copyright options.

    in essence copyright unless explicitly assigned elsewhere or explicitly given up remains with the originator. i think that may be true in almost all jurisidctions.

    we need a lawyer - where's Armando?
     
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  3. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I don't do any copyright work, but I have no disagreements with what Paul wrote. It's my understanding that copyright laws when using Flickr are governed by the terms and conditions set by Flickr when the user chooses to use Flickr. If the conditions are similar to the governing law of the land, then that's what it is -- whatever that might be.

    Regarding this person's printing all the photos uploaded in one day, and then throwing them together to create a big pile, and then calling it "art" ... Not the kind of "art" I'd ever care to experience in person.
     
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  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    I wonder how the guy would feel if I photoed his art then sold the images
     
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  5. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    I'm no lawyer, nor do I play one on television, but I believe that there's a part of the law where use like this is acceptable because the original photos have been "transformed" or significantly altered to the point where it is a new thing. This art installation is meant to be viewed as a whole, not as discrete photos, so I'd imagine that they are "transformed."

    But heck, the guy could have asked me for all of my photos. I've got tens of thousands on my hard drive.
     
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  6. flash

    flash SC Veteran

    372
    May 6, 2011
    Gordon
    I leave Sh*t all over the floor all the time. I must be an artist......

    I don't see this as art. It's a pile of random photos. What has it got to say?

    Now if he'd gone out and taked that many on his own, I might think there's a point. but as it is, I don't see it.

    Gordon
     
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  7. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    sigh

    I wonder if it's worth opening a book on how quickly someone will come along and say "my 5 year old could do that" ?
     
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  8. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    My thoughts exactly.
     
  9. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Whether or not you like the work is a separate issue from the legality of using the images of course, but I do find the idea interesting - to visualize the sheer volume of photography that is going on these days, and in this case, just one day on Flickr. One can't help but look at that pile, purposefully strewn about instead of organized in neat piles and wonder, "Ok, how can I make an image that stands out from this mountain of images?"

    I kind of like it.
     
  10. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I like the statement, and am impressed by the physical volume in a way you wouldn't be by just reading the stats on an upload count page, but I was more curious about the legality of it. Some good thoughts so far in the thread.

    As for calling it "art" -- well, that's a whole different topic. But it is thought provoking.
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Well, I suppose the "statement" of the "artists'" work is how meaningless all the photos are that get uploaded every day. And while he/she may be right about 99.5% of them, the same can be said of high concept art pieces.

    I may not know art, but I know what I don't like.
     
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