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What would the reaction be if, for the sake of argument, EMI took a photo that a small independent photographer made, ran it through what looks like a basic Photoshop filter, and slapped it on the next Coldplay album? Internet outrage right?

And then what would happen if the photographer sued EMI and Coldplay, and won a $32K settlement? I'm guessing the Internet would either be satisfied or angry that $32K is too little for such deep pockets.

I understand and agree that Jay was too vicious in this, but how is he in the wrong again?




It's not too surprising that we often root for the little guy, but this wasn't a Coldplay album or a Photoshop filter. This was a very limited release art project to celebrate Miles Davis, early computers and talented electronic musicians.

The case is especially interesting because no large faceless corporation was involved, it was one (very wealthy) artist going after other (not very wealthy) artists.


My understanding of the argument is that someone, or some entity, with a certain amount of money should not sue a significantly smaller person for another amount of money that would cause a hardship on the smaller person.

Is there a point at which those values of money make it acceptable to take some one else's work, alter it, and re-sell it? If Maisel had settled for $10,000 would we be having this issue? What about $1000? Nothing at all?

Litigation is unfairly tilted towards those with money. Fortunately for Jay he has some. He obviously felt that Kind of Bloop's cover unfairly used his art, so he sued. I am assuming that the settlement will cover _his_ legal costs. My wild-ass guess is that $32.5K would be about right to cover filing, and negotiating a settlement with a good NY attorney.

So, if an artist feels that their work was ripped off (whether or not that is ACTUALLY the case), and they have the means to do so, do they not have the right seek litigation against the offender?


It's not an argument, I'm just stating that it's not surprising to see push back when a wealthy person or organization goes after someone who's not wealthy.

Regardless of the merit (I believe it's fair use), Maisel was not harmed by this remixed album. Purely sending a cease and desist would have done the trick, there's no reason to try and squeeze cash out of it. That's why I think he comes out looking like a dick.


The same laws that protect the artist protect the GPL, and wealth really has nothing to do with it. He should have come up with original artwork to use on his project, just like a company that wants to use GPL code in a non-allowed way needs to write their own code. The law needs to be consistent not feel good.


Wealth and individual vs corp is not relevant, laws are, or should be, applied equally.


The law has little to do with who the internet roots for. A rich guy can be simultaneously right and a dick.


This is pretty much direct pixelated copy of the original photo. I think he deserved to get sued.

The derivative examples he provides below are copies of truly iconic images, while Miles Davis cover is a pretty mediocre photo by a commercial photographer.


This is a clear-cut case of fair use - it seems Maisel would likely have lost had the case gone to trial (see Blanche vs Koons).

To your second point; the original photograph on the Miles Davis cover has absolutely become an iconic piece of American culture - I take it you're not a jazz enthusiast?


Go to google images and search for "jazz" or "miles". You will not find that photo in the first 200+ images (I haven't checked further). You will see many other photos of Miles Davis though. You call that image "iconic"?

And then go search for "morrison".


43rd one, by my quick count: http://images.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&sourc...

And 20th for "Miles Davis": http://images.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1400&bih=9...

"Kind of Blue" the album is incredibly famous and respected (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kind_of_Blue#Reception_and_infl...), and its album art--though not the best I've seen--is therefore a Big Deal by association, if nothing else.


Point proven. How can an iconic image be #20 or #43? Shouldn't it be #1 like for Morrison?


He is in the wrong because he doesn't recognize that a pixelated version of his iconic photograph of Miles Davis is an incredibly appropriate cover for a CD with 'pixelated' renditions of his music.

Given the circumstances, an album with a very limited audience, available primarily for electronic download (there was only a physical version with this cover for Kickstarter backers), I think the commercial and legal aspects should be considered moot.

Let a thousand of these tiny suns bloom. The world would be better, not worse and that is the only criterion that needs to count. All analogies are off, because we don't need to be arguing the general case. They all fail to consider that this is a work by an accomplished artist whose reputation or commercial interest are in no way threatened by this use of his work. That is the specific case under consideration and that is why he is utterly wrong.


He's wrong because he's a highly successful artist (http://twitter.com/danielpunkass/status/83909442583793664) and @waxpancake is a cool web dude who is friends with other cool web dudes and that seems to be how the internet works now.


No photoshop filter involved. It was manually created by a pixel artist.


It's amusing people think it was a photoshop filter. Take a look at the diamonds in the tie. It would take an awesome algo to figure out that this surface is plane covered by diamond-ish things, and straighten it out, rotate it slightly, and enlarge it (while keeping the other constraints of the picture in place) so that the pixel diamonds fit on it well. Not to mention that the pixel diamonds only broadly evoke the of the tie, and are even truncated at the top and bottom in ways calculated to evoke the original, that have nothing to do with mechanical pixelation.

And that's just one tiny element.


Agreed - pixel/bitmap artist weighs in (not my post): http://mrgan.tumblr.com/post/6840184364/hand-pixelated




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