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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 20, 2006

Free legal advice - worth the price you pay?

While we're on the subject of getting free advice (see Simon's N T hell post below), does anyone know what the legal status of pastiche and homage is?

Obviously, something like Mona Lisa is out of copyright, but what happens if you pay homage to something more recent, like a famous album cover from 1973, say?

The internet is no help, because there's a kind of moral panic about copyright issues and service providers etc. are likely to err on the side of caution, reinforcing the views of the corporate lawyers who threaten to sue fan fiction sites, lyric sites, tab sites etc.

But if you take an artwork - famous album cover, say - and change it to a large degree (replace one element with another, use slightly different colours), so that you're obviously not representing it as the original, but as a pastiche of the original, can you get sued?

3 Comments:

  • Interesting one innit.

    There's always the intimidation angle too; the threat of litigation: "I'm going to pull your fucking head off, because I don't like you..." sort of thing. When you're in no position to argue with them, so it's irrelevant whether you've acted legally or not.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 7:40 am  

  • Moot point, now, it seems, because we've been over-ruled by One Who Would Get Manchester United To Play Cricket.

    In spite of the fact that copyright law on artworks says:

    Copyright cannot protect an idea only the particular form in which it is expressed.

    Otherwise, if you think about it, someone would be able to paint, say, a nude woman reclining on a couch, and then say that nobody else could paint a nude woman reclining on a couch for 70 years.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 8:02 am  

  • That's quite a shame, as I think quite a few people were looking foward to these artworks.

    In fact somebody said to me that this style of cover gives exactly the right sort of message to the right sort of people: they understand the references.

    Shame really. I was quite looking forward to seeing them too.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 8:46 am  

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