Tag Archives: Copyright

Copyright Fridays! Graffiti is protected by federal law: the Long Island City 5Pointz verdict

Attitudes towards graffiti have changed radically over the past 30 years. Now, there’s typically a legal contract and mutual agreement between real estate developers and mural artists to create the beautiful works you see on the sides of buildings all over Tampa Bay and in many cities in the world. While the differences between “mural art” and “graffiti” can still be disputed, the case illustrated in the article below proves that any artwork has worth and is protected by federal law.

The Long Island City 5Pointz building was spectacular (I was living in New York at the time when this divisive issue was being discussed), and it drew in tourists and natives alike to LIC. That this case took so long is a testament to how complicated copyright law can be, especially when it comes to artists’ rights.

In a Surprise Verdict, Jury Says Developer Broke the Law by Whitewashing 5Pointz Graffiti Mecca

But the judge has yet to make his final ruling.

A federal court jury in Brooklyn has handed a preliminary victory to a group of graffiti and aerosol artists in a closely watched case that pitted the rights of street artists against those of a property developer.

The six-person jury found that real estate developer Gerald Wolkoff and his related companies broke the law when, in 2014, he whitewashed the 5Pointz graffiti mecca in Long Island City in the middle of the night. However, the jury decision will serve only as a recommendation to the case’s presiding judge, Frederick Block, who has yet to hand down a final verdict and assess whether any damages must be paid…..read more


Are you an artist? Learn how to incorporate other work into your own.

It’s called Fair Use. Learn how to mix, collage, and use things that inspire you into your own work without infringing on copyright. Check out the infographic below.

From the College Art Association on the topic of Fair Use in the Visual Arts:

For centuries, artists have incorporated the work of others as part of their creative practice. Today, many artists occasionally or routinely reference and incorporate artworks and other cultural productions in their own creations. Such quotation is part of the construction of new culture, which necessarily builds on existing culture. It often provides a new interpretation of existing works, and may (or may not) be deliberately confrontational. Increasingly, artists employ digital tools to incorporate existing (including digital) works into their own, making uses that range from pastiche and collage (remix), to the creation of new soundscapes and lightscapes. Sometimes this copying is of a kind that might infringe copyright, and sometimes not. But whatever the technique, and whatever may be used (from motifs or themes to specific images, text, or sounds), new art can be generated.

PRINCIPLE: Artists may invoke fair use to incorporate copyrighted material into new artworks in any medium, subject to certain limitations:


  • Artists should avoid uses of existing copyrighted material that do not generate new artistic meaning, being aware that a change of medium, without more, may not meet this standard.
  • The use of a preexisting work, whether in part or in whole, should be justified by the artistic objective, and artists who deliberately repurpose copyrighted works should be prepared to explain their rationales both for doing so and for the extent of their uses.
  • Artists should avoid suggesting that incorporated elements are original to them, unless that suggestion is integral to the meaning of the new work.
  • When copying another’s work, an artist should cite the source, whether in the new work or elsewhere (by means such as labeling or embedding), unless there is an articulable aesthetic basis for not doing so.


Guilty until proven innocent – Fair Use and video mash-ups

Fond of uploading your funny video mash-ups to YouTube? More often than not, your video may be flagged for copyright infringement if you are using a famous person’s music video, even if it’s within the realm of fair use (see summary from the article below*). Here is a cautionary tale by Emily Hong courtesy of Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University on emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

*  “The law gives judges four factors to use to determine whether something is fair use: the purpose and character of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and the effect of the use upon the potential market. However, even with these factors, fair use is controversial, and its boundaries are fuzzy.”


What Beyoncé and Justin Bieber Taught Me About Fair Use 

-Emily Hong



Justin Beiber attends the 2015 American Music Awards, Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

I made a discovery just before the holidays. If you start Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” at 0:23 seconds in and simultaneously press play on the music video for Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” (on mute, of course), the Beyoncé audio matches the Bieber choreography nearly perfectly. It is uncanny.

read more….

Anne Dalton presentation on copyright law this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 3pm

Publication1Interested in how Copyright Law directly effects your studies here at UT?  Understanding the complexities of copyright and fair use is important for teachers and students alike. Take the opportunity to learn more at two presentations this week at the Library and at the Reeves Theater in the Vaughn Center, sponsored by the Friends of the Macdonald-Kelce Library.

Attorney Anne Dalton will discuss the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) this Tuesday 16th at the Macdonald-Kelce Library, room AV II at 3 p.m. Snacks are provided. Take a peek at the copyright display when you enter the library in the display cases on the right.

Publication2Anne Dalton’s second presentation “Copyright Basic Legal and Business Concepts for Artists: Protect Yourself and Your Work,” will take place Wednesday, Sept. 17 at the Reeves Theater, Vaughn Center, at 1 p.m.

A Fair(y) Use Tale

A brief explanation of Copyright Law and Fair Use using characters from Disney. Created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University.