November 29, 2007

Cease and Desist

This week I received a cease and desist letter from the High Museum of Art here in Atlanta. I took photos of artwork at the High, during my three visits over the past two years. While these photos were taken under the noses and with full compliance from the guards, I then posted them in the public forum of the Internet. This violated the tacit copyright restrictions that I agreed to, without my knowledge, upon entering their building.

While I may consider my photos, which included photos of my face and my sister’s face, to be interpretive derivations of the artwork at the museum, which thus makes the photo itself my artwork and not the property of the High, I cannot afford the stress and money involved in arguing against the powers of our corrupted copyright system.

I have removed all my photos of the High from Flickr.

Where do I go from here?

I feel my options are:
– stop taking photos of art
– stop posting photos on-line
– stop using flickr since it is too “public”
– stop labeling photos I put on-line
– stop making my photos public

The whole idea that you can “copyright” a physical object in a way that makes it a violation to create an interpretive representation of said object makes me livid. This deformed and absurd level of “ownership” destroys my ability to appreciate the artwork. What’s left if not appreciation? I might as well just stare at blank walls.

1 Comment

  1. Copyright issues are really bizarre. In publishing, we have a whole department that deals with permissions — I take that back. 2 departments: 1 photo and 1 text. There are so many things in print that cannot be used in tech media – i.e. DVD but not Web; Web but not DVD, etc etc…

    I’m surprised that they did act on this if you and your sister were in the photos. or if you posted the pictures for money or something. But I guess they can do what they want and assume that most people will just remove them and not go through the hassle. Sorry about this. I’d be sore too.

    Comment by Rosemarie — December 4, 2007 @ 10:31 pm

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