NY artist Joy Garnett makes paintings based on found photographs gathered from the mass media. [more info]. In January 2004 she had a solo exhibition of a series of paintings called "Riot," which featured the figure in extreme emotional states. One of the paintings, Molotov, was based on an uncredited image found on the web that turned out to be a fragment of a 1979 photograph by Susan Meiselas.
When Meiselas and her lawyer learned of the painting, they sent a cease-and-desist letter to Garnett accusing her of "pirating" the photo. They demanded she remove the image of Molotov from her website, and that she sign a retroactive licensing agreement [PDF] that would sign over all rights to the painting to Meiselas, and to credit Meiselas on all subsequent reproductions of Molotov. Garnett offered a compromise: she agreed to give Meiselas a credit line on her website, but refused to sign a “derivative work” agreement, claiming that her painting was a transformative fair use of the Meiselas photo. Meiselas’ attorney, Barbara Hoffman, turned down the offer and instead threatened Garnett with an injunction, demanding that Garnett comply with all of the demands as well as pay $2,000 in retroactive licensing fees.
Garnett pulled the image of Molotov from her website, lest it result in the entire site being pulled down (cf: a “Take-Down order”). She never signed over the rights to her work, but she was not pursued once the image of Molotov was removed from her site.
COMEDIES of FAIR U$E:
A Search for Comity in the Intellectual Property Wars, April 28-30, 2006
Watch the COMEDIES videos and download mp3s of the talks.
Read transcripts and commentary here.
Download and use/distribute Joywar lecture images here.
Articles and Posts referencing the conference
Articles and Presentations referencing Joywar
Richard Rinehart, Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN):
Date Published: 2006-09-15:
In any discussion of the cultural heritage community’s response to intellectual property,
one should mention art that explicitly addresses copyright. Of course sometimes art works
become unintentionally well-known for copyright issues that arise around them. These
artworks can become exemplary of a specific intellectual property issue, or can even
become cultural touchstones and rallying points for copyright activism. One work in the
former category is the aforementioned sculpture by Jeff Koons, String of Puppies. A work
in the latter category is Molotov, a painting by artist Joy Garnett. Joy Garnett’s paintings
incorporate mass media imagery in the form of painted versions of photo-journalistic images
that she finds online and elsewhere. Her subject is not just the subject of the photo, but
the photo itself as a cultural artifact. In one such painting, Molotov, she cropped and painted
an image of a young man about to toss a soda bottle Molotov bomb. She exhibited this painting
and was sued [sic]* by the photojournalist who had produced the original photograph. This
might have remained a routine instance of alleged copyright infringement but for what happened
next. The art community rallied to Garnett and many artists began appropriating the same image
for works of their own, sometimes changing the contents of the bottle or other details, in a
cultural movement that became known as Joywar!
*The threat of an injunction was dropped after Garnett removed the jpeg of Molotov from her website.
David Bollier, On the Commons.org, “Clearance Culture vs. Creative Freedom,”
Marjorie Heins, LAWDRAGON, “Quiet Riot - Will Fair Use Survive?”
Creativity is under assault. Copyright holders from Mattel to a famed photographer are threatening those who create
and critique, undermining technology’s ability to propel message and stoke debate.
Marjorie Heins and Tricia Beckles, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Free Expression Policy Project.
on Free Culture & the Digital Library,
David Green, Towards Fair Use Best Practices for Individual Creators: “Pirates, Thieves & Innocents:
,” Copyright Symposium, Center for Intellectual Property,
March 8, 2004: “Joywar” is officially kicked off by Rhizome’s Net.Art News publication and RSS
dissemination of the blog post: Joywar: The Molotov Years (see below)
Joywar took place during March and April 2004. This page contains an incomplete archive accumulated
as the sit-in progressed. Many of the links may now be broken. However, stills and screen shots of many
Joywar works can be seen in streaming video as part of the lecture “Painting Mass Media + The Art of Fair
Use” that I gave at
articles and links to presentations have since been added to this page.
Read an encapsulization of the story here.
Read about it in the context of fair use here.
Joywar: The Molotov Years
Rhizome.org - Net.Art News, March 8, 2004
Recall Toywar, the battle between Zurich-based net collective etoy.com and
eToys, a once-profitable but eventually bankrupted toy vendor? Recap: in
1999, the retailer closed down etoy.com, arguing that eToys users who
accessed the art site would be offended by its content. In an act of
'electronic civil disobedience,' etoy supporters bombarded eToys.com,
overwhelmed its servers, and helped devalue its stock to $1/share. When
the dust settled, the commercial giant had lost five billion dollars worth
of equity in 81 days and etoy.com retained the rights to its name. Now:
Joywar. Artist Joy Garnett, whose paintings sample photojournalism, is
being sued by a photographer over 'Molotov,' a reworked, large-scale
painting based on an image from 1978. The case hinges on the question of
who owns media images, especially those that are supposedly documentarian:
after all, if an artist can lay original and exclusive claim to the
portrait of a revolutionary hurling a molotov cocktail, we might have
pause to wonder on the nature of that captured event. We might also notice
the anxiety released when an image is remade and given new meaning, new
circulation, and yes, new profit potential. While she awaits the outcome
of the suit, whose plaintiff is demanding several thousand dollars,
credit, and that she not exhibit or produce the work again, Garnett has
removed 'Molotov' from her website. Garnett's peers have initiated a
'Joywar,' and a flourishing campaign to sample, share and remix is
underway. It's impossible to list here all of the mirror sites and uses of
'Molotov' that have exploded in the last week or so, but it's clear that
many are in favor of the free dissemination and reuse of images and the
rights of artists like Garnett to sample. -- Christine Smallwood
Note: Rhizome.org is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1996 to provide an online platform for
the global new media art community. Programs and services support the creation, presentation, discussion
and preservation of contemporary art that uses new technologies in significant ways. Core activities include
commissions, email discussions and publications, and a web site.
Though the organization is
based, the Rhizome.org community is geographically dispersed, and includes artists, curators, writers,
designers, programmers, students, educators and new media professionals.
Some Dancers & Musicians – March 2004
The American artist Joy Garnett, whose paintings are derived from news images, is
faced with a legal action for thousands of dollars over this one. This has nothing to do
with the protection of livelihood and everything to do with the suppression of free
speech and free artistic practice.
Don't let the schoolyard bullies win!
Show your solidarity with Joy by grabbing this image and posting it on your website
UPDATE (Jan 16, 2005): This solidarity page was itself remixed as part of The Getaway Experiment
commissioned by Turbulence. Have a look and keep clicking the central image for more:
March 25, 2004
same text as above, recycled with new image :
back to top
response posted by Matthew X.
Message 37 of 39 in thread
I don't think Warhol is the best parallel...you
should look into Leon Golub's practice. He too collected
thousands of images from the news media and reworked them on
his canvases...playing with scale and surface. I remember seeing
a video about him working in his studio. He had file cabinents full of
images torn from the pages of magazines and newspapers that he would
JOYWAR: The Distorted Molotov
An homage to Joy Garnett's Molotov
Culture Kitchen - March 05, 2004
Joy Garnett[’s] Riot show are oil paintings of images sampled from newswires and other public news
media. Now she is not only being sued by the photojournalist whose picture was sample[d] in Molotov
but she is being asked to never show and never sell the artwork. This is obviously not a case of an
artist protecting his speech rights but of one artist using his copyrights as a way to censor another
artist. A sad case of Stockholm Syndrome if there ever was.
Check her work at First Pulse Projects and drop her a line or two at joyeria[at]walrus[dot]com.
Trackback for this post:
The following blogs make reference to this post :
» Storm in a Pepsi bottle de Light From
An Empty Fridge
Artist Joy Garnett seems to have got into a bit of legal trouble with a painting called Molotov,
part of... [More...]
Found in March 12, 2004 04:04 PM
Cocktail de sasnaK
The American artist Joy Garnett, whose paintings are derived from news images, is faced with
a legal action for thousands of dollars over this one. This has nothing to do with the protection
of livelihood and everything to do... [More...]
Found in March 26, 2004 11:43 AM
Say it loud, say it proud!
1 Comment by: doron at
it is my opinion that image has no copyrights .
by: Oligonicella at
Baloney. That photojournalist makes a living by taking photos. Sometimes at great risk to self.
Did the artist *ask* the photographer? Did the artist *pay* the photographer for the right to use
his/her copyrighted work?
The lazy attitude that one has the -right- to simply steal the work of another and use it as the
basis for a prefab hack is just that, lazy. How hard is it to simply paint someone throwing a mol?
Not. Not at all. What the painter did was to plagerize. That is unethical, and illegal. No sympathy here.
3 Comment by: carol at
The case has similarities to one involving the Barbie and Ken dolls from several years ago. An
artist took the dolls (some bought, some found) and modified them, then resold them. The court
verdict was that the modified dolls where an original peice of art work and even though Mattel owned
the copyrights on the unmodified version of the dolls, they could not prohibit the resale of the modified
ones, nor could they collect royalites. Legal precident is with the painter in this case.
by: Sigivald at
So, Oligonicella, if a painter ever sees a photograph, and paints a picture based on seeing it, does
the painter also need to ask and pay?
Since when is painting a picture based on some other work the same as "stealing the work of" that
person? The photograph is copyrighted; images created via other media based on seeing that photograph
are not, however, violations of that copyright.
Making a copy of the photohgraph (even with, say, photorealist painting) might be violation. Making a
painting compositionally based on the photograph, but with painterly method and especially with substantial
changes, is not, nor should it be.
(Doron is still wrong; images have copyrights. But s/he is right that the image's copyright only applies to
the literal image, not to interpretations of that image, especially wholly-created ones in other media - there
may be some meat in a copyright case, of course, for an "interpretation" that consisted simply of re-coloring
a scan in Photoshop... but IANAL.)
5 Comment by: ryan at
The problem with dealing with this as copyright, is that Joy's work (like that of Gerhard Richter, Rosenquist,
Rauschenberg, Levine et al) is a comment on the image being appropriated - and therefore should be
considered critical commentary - a fair use. But it gets sketchy for some because the painting is also being
sold. it's not sketchy for me because the object of the painting is an artifact, just like the original photo, that is
sold not based on it's materiality (well maybe for some painting collectors it is about that, but not usually
photography), but based on it's communicative potential. no one has asked if the photographer obtained
permission to capture the image of the person throwing the molotov? why's that? we should believe that
someone owns the rights to an image because they snapped a shutter, while the person photographed is
merely a landscape? Joy merely treated the image as the person in the photo was treated.
But the archive must be kept safe...
6 Comment by: steve at
someone should have thought to
copyright that cross around his neck
that someone would have made a few bills
Lukemelia 3/8/2004, 11pm
Diritti di Riot
Guerriglia Marketing March 9, 2004
L'artista Joy Garnett è stata citata in giudizio da un fotografo autore a causa della sua opera Mololotov,
una rielaborazione ad olio su grande formato di un immagine pubblicata nel 1978 su un settimanale
Un caso di estremismo del diritto d'autore che non solo pone l'annosa questione del facoltà di rielaborazione
delle immagini, ma lo fa a partire da un'originale che è una fotografia di cronaca.
Il fotografo ha infatti potuto catturare il gesto del soggetto senza premurarsi del suo consenso, avvalendosi
del diritto di cronaca. Mentre, paradossalmente, quel gesto di ribellione viene trasformato nel suo opposto
nel momento in cui diventa una semplice rappresentazione.
Joy Garnett è stata così costretta ad eliminare l'opera dalla sua serie
Riot (già esposta a
che dal suo sito internet.
Per rispondere a questa assurda causa, una serie di siti della comunità artistica (e non solo) hanno
cominciato a ripubblicare la pittura della Garnett in originale o rielaborandola.
Questa la ragione della nuova immagine di home page sul sito di guerrigliamarketing.it.
Attenzione: grazie a tutto questo, l'opera finirà per aumentare il suo valore
Joywar, riprodurre per tutelare.
March 10, 2004 – Neural.it
La rielaborazione dell'opera di un'altra persona non è una pratica nuova nel mondo dell'arte,
e spesso gli autori originali coinvolti hanno manifestato disappunto per aver perso una parte
della loro 'paternità'. Paradossale è però il caso di Joy Garnett, artista che sta per subire una
causa di violazione del diritto d'autore per aver interpretato in pittura alcune celebri foto di
cronaca degli anni settanta. Uno dei fotografi originari ha chiesto alcune migliaia di dollari di
risarcimento intimando che l'opera ('molotov') non sia più esposta, nè pubblicata e che le
sua riproduzioni vengano rimosse perfino dal web. All'assurdità della richiesta la risposta
spontanea è stata quella di creare un network di siti che riportano l'immagine 'proibita' in
una qualche forma. La riproduzione infinita dell'opera è la risposta politica che si avvale di
un presupposto tecnico tanto necessario (l'immaterialità della riproduzione in rete, e quindi
la sua semplice duplicazione), quanto ormai acquisito da tutti, meno, forse, dagli artisti
ancora seduti sui loro privilegi di mercato.
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 16:33:22 +0100
From: ottokin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Joy Garnett <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: tshirt
Produce this shirt an fuck the Pepsi!
image archived here:
By etoy.MARCOS @ [ etoy.ACTIVITIES ]
JOYWAR. the next art war!
for further information go:
Storm in a Pepsi bottle
Light from an Empty Fridge (blog), Friday 12 Mar 2004 16:03
Artist Joy Garnett seems to have got into a bit of legal trouble with a painting
and news sources.
What's the issue? Well, it's not, as I first expected, the fact that the molotov
bottle has a Pepsi logo on it. That initially reminded me of Alexander Kosolapov,
whose use of corporate logos I wrote about before. It appears, though, that the
painting is based on a photograph taken in 1978, and the photojournalist who
took it is suing for X thousand dollars and also as a general Cease And Desist to
prevent further exhibition.
It's not therefore a case of Evil Corporate Censorship Boo Hiss, unless there's
something going on that I wasn't aware of, but it does seem like another example
of a ridiculous use of copyright given that the original was taken over twenty-five
years ago and this painting cannot be said to be depriving the original photographer
of anything at all - in fact it potentially increases her profile. Nobody is going to use
this painting for some purpose instead of the original. A painting of a photograph is
not a copy of the photograph, rather a derived work, and the original was publicly
displayed in news media which increases the degree to which it could be said to be
public domain. This looks like simple artistic oversensitivity and I don't have much
Anyway, here are a couple more links on the subject. New developments will bring
updates, though only if I hear about them, obviously.
News story on rhizome.org where Garnett appears to be a member. I'm delving
through posts on rhizome.org to try to find out a little more information.
Solidarity page - links to lots of interesting modified and derived works that people
have done based on
Molotov as part of the campaign - for example, Distorted Molotov,
The artist Joy Garnett may have a lawsuit against her for using a photo-journalist's image in her
painting titled Molotov. What has followed after Garnett made her situation public is a deluge of
appropriations and commentaries by net art communities (although Garnett is not revealing the
names of the plaintiff or her lawyer -- we know the plaintiff is a woman). Joy Garnett recently
updated her "webring" on the Rhizome Raw list; her original post can be found on Rhizome.org's
thread: http://rhizome.org/thread.rhiz?thread=12379&text=23895#23895 Because there currently
is no website hosting all of this information. Net Art Review is supplying all the links, as updated by
Joy Garnett, listed below:
Molotov Web ring : [snip!]
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
Recently several mailinglists were flooded with the support messages and actions for
the Molotov painting by Joy Garnet (see post below by Eduardo Navas). Though I
didn't read all responses (I'm not on all lists that commented on the Molotov case),
the main thing I missed in all comments was that this whole type of copyright lawsuits
have had already some clear precedents. Probably the best known example is the
to know why. Here I quote from the article "COPYRIGHT PROTECTION AND APPROPRIATION ART"
by William M. Landes:
"... is appropriation of mass media images by the artist Jeff Koons who was the
defendant in three similar copyright cases in the 2nd Circuit. In the best-known
photograph of a group of puppies with their owners, tore off the copyright notice
from the card, and hired an Italian foundry to make four sculptures based on the
photograph. Since Koons admitted copying, the only issue on appeal was if his
copying was a fair use.
Counting against fair use is that Koons added little to the original image except
for changing the medium and adding color. Indeed, altering the image would
have defeated his purpose of changing the meaning of the image by putting it in
a different context. On the other hand, Koon's sculpture is not likely to damage
the market for the copyrighted photograph. The products are in different markets
and won't compete for sales. Yet the plaintiff's business was licensing photographs
so upholding Koon's fair use defense could potentially eliminate an important
source of revenue to photographers and result in adverse incentive effects.
Koons' principle argument for fair use was that his work should be privileged as
a satirical comment or parody. By appropriating an everyday image, he claimed
that his work commented critically on a political and economic system that places
too much value on mass produced commodities and media images. Not surprisingly,
the court rejected his defense because his work did not comment directly on the
appropriated image. As noted earlier, fair use requires that the parody be directed
at least in part at the original work. When the parody comments on society at large,
the defendant should be able to license the copyrighted
:: Peter Luining [+] ::
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Read this, if you're concerned about artists' rights to rework culture:
posted by Quahogs ! at 3/24/2004 10:22:04 PM
More about painting, photography, and copyrighting images
March 24, 2004 - Working Artist's Journal - Anna L. Conti,
Is it ethical for an artist to paint a picture based on a photograph, without permission of
This issue has come up more and more frequently since the Pop art era, and it is currently
being debated online and in the art world because of a lawsuit being brought against painter
Joy Garnett, by a photojournalist. The photographer shot a photo of a young man throwing
a molotov cocktail, the image was printed in a newspaper, and Ms. Garnett made a painting
from the image. The painter's friends are taking action by disseminating Ms. Garnett's
painting, as well as digitally manipulated versions of it, as widely as possible. I think they
are trying to make these points:
1- copyright protection is meaningless in these times
2 - we don't care if you use our images, so why should you care if we use yours
3 - copyright protection is wrong - open source standards are better for society
(There is a parallel version of this argument in the music industry and it seems like plagiarism
stories have been in the news a bit recently, so maybe it's a bigger story than I realize, but
or now I want to focus on visual art.)
Both photographers and painters are visual artists. They both manipulate their mediums to
present a personal vision to the viewer. Some present "straight" reporting, which is generally
considered "real", "realistic" or "realism". Others focus on stylistic concerns, but their work is
usually still "representational". Others are more concerned with pushing the limits of their
mediums, and these images often become "abstract." And there are plenty of artists who
cross these fuzzy boundaries.
Sometimes painters use photographs. They make painted copies of all or part of the photo.
They copy the photo as exactly as possible, or just use it as a starting point, and change so
much that the source is not recognizable. Sometimes they take the actual photo and literally
paste it into the painting.
Less often, photographers use paintings (or sculptures.) They shoot photos of sculptures and
paintings in public places. They set up a scene to look like a famous painting, then shoot photos
of it. In at least one case a photographer (Richard Misrach) photographed parts of paintings
and then published a book titled "Pictures of Paintings".
Both painters and photographers "use" what they see in their world. This includes people,
animals, flowers, food, furniture, buildings, vehicles, natural and man-made land formations,
sunsets, sunrises, bill boards, magazines, videos, web pages, etc. The list is infinite. There is
no shortage of images.
Reasons why artists might decide NOT to paint or photograph a particular image:
1. They live in a society that jails or kills artists who make this kind of image.
2. The image is copyrighted by someone and the artist does not wish to risk a lawsuit.
3. The subject of the painting or photograph does not want to be portrayed in this way, and
the artist cares about the feelings of this person or
4. The image has already been done over and over, and this artist has nothing new to add.
... and, after all, there is no shortage of images.
Reasons why artists might decide NOT to sue another artist for "stealing" their copyrighted image:
1. It's more trouble than it's worth - how much money can you squeeze out of the average artist?
2. Thinking about people who live in glass houses.... is there an artist anywhere who hasn't
appropriated something from other artists?
3. The energy that goes into tracking down and prosecuting copyright violations is not put into
creating new work.
... and, after all, there is no shortage of images, and new work to be created.
So, what I still don't understand is why this still happens. If your business is in the visual arts,
then the issue of copyright is not new to you. So why ask for trouble? If you're trying to make
a political point, then I can see how getting sued would add to the value of your project. But if
you're mainly interested in aesthetics, use your creative juices and pick another image that
does the same thing... it's not like there's a shortage of
Elise Tomlinson on the law and painters using public images, March 23
photonet forum - a series of letters from photographers on the issue
Who owns the rights to this man's struggle?
nmazca.blog, mar 26, 2004
Yesterday afternoon I clicked over to Amberglow and noticed a mixed-up, tiled
version of the painting, Molotov, above. That blog's author mentioned legal action
series was shown at a NYC gallery.
Scores of freedom-minded, art-savvy, anti-corporate bloggivists have since
risen in (virtual) solidarity with Ms. Garnett, posting either the same image or
variations thereof (this is my favorite) in order to assert artists' rights. This
collective action has been called JoyWar.
I was excited by all of this, and I decided that I too would take up the fight
against Pepsi and its heavy-handed intellectual-property bullying. But that would
have to wait until after I bought a couple of birdfeeders
and tidied up the back patio.
So... those tasks completed, I sat down to stick to it The Cola
out that Pepsi was not the litigant at odds with Ms. Garnett. It is, in fact, the
photographer whose image Garnett had downloaded and used as the source for
her painting (typical for the content of "Riot"). I discovered this little wrinkle in the
Molotov story after -- say it ain't so! -- taking the time to read the backstory. One
particular comment on another blog -- in regard to attribution that Garnettttt dddiidn't
give to this unnamed, world-famous female Magnum photographer -- left me
wondering "So who is it?"
Susan Meiselas. Very attentive readers of nmazca.blog will recall the bit that I
posted about her book, Carnival Strippers, back in October. Meiselas' photo of a
Sandinista fighter was made during her coverage of the armed struggle against the Somoza dictatorship
"This is obviously not a case of an artist protecting [her] speech rights but of
one artist using [her] copyrights as a way to censor another artist." Is that so?
I would say not, and I'm fairly liberal with access and use of my own images.
The major factor is attribution, if not permission. It can't be assumed that a
grainy photo from a not-so-long ago war is in the public domain. Is it sufficient
to make a general statement about the use of others' images, make comments
about reinterpretation and altered contexts, and then present the work for sale
(again, without credit given to the original creator)? Garnett uses found images,
also, and it would be too much to expect attribution with those. But this other bit
is tricky, and I wouldn't be so hasty to dismiss Meiselas' assertion... although
her bit about never showing the painting again, come on.
I'm concerned about originality on one hand, and freedom to adapt on the other.
Another noteworthy point is this: "No one has asked if the photographer obtained
permission to capture the image of the person throwing the molotov? Why's that?
We should believe that someone owns the rights to an image because they
snapped a shutter, while the person photographed is merely a landscape?" Thus,
my original question: Who owns the right to this man's
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to burn a copy of The Grey Album.
mr damon [p-link]
Joywar, What is it good for?
greg.org, March 26, 2004
painted figures in caught in moments of distress or violence. Then she got
threatened with a lawsuit by a Magnum photographer for referencing a 1978
image of a guy throwing a Molotov cocktail. Of course, the irony [?] is
that, as Garnett says, "my work is ABOUT the fact that images are
uncontrollable entities. It's about what happens when you remove context
and framing devices." Which means, of course, it's about getting sued.
Congratulations, Joy. I hope you get sued again real soon.
Related: The Bomb Project, an archive of "nuclear-related links organized
art | posted by greg allen
Stay Free! Magazine, march 26, 2004
New York-based artist Joy Garnett has been threatened with a lawsuit for
creating Molotov, a painting based on a 1978 photograph. Though Joy has
removed an image of the offending work from her website, supporters
have rallied around her cause and created art based on HER art. You can
see the image and read more about it here:
My personal faves, of the Molotov-inspired artwork:
The Pepsi Molotov Cocktail
Al's awake again. I made dinner. Then there's this:
”The American artist Joy Garnett, whose paintings are derived from news images,
is faced with a legal action for thousands of dollars over this one. This has nothing
to do with the protection of livelihood and everything to do with the suppression
of free speech and free artistic practice. Don't let the schoolyard bullies win! Show
your solidarity with Joy by grabbing this image and posting it on your website or
by making your own artwork derived from it."
(the quote is from BoingBoing, linked at the end of this post.)
The protest page is here.
This is the image in question: <Molotov image>
I assumed that the suit was brought by Pepsi, as somehow demeaning the brand. It wasn't.
“...the most interesting thing just happened: I'm being sued for
copyright infringement (does it mean I'm finally a grown-up?).
the joke is I was served the letter the day after I met with an
arts funding rep who encouraged me to list "sampling" on my
grant application as part of my painting practice. It made the
whole thing seem almost funny.
The plaintiff is a world-famous photojournalist who takes pics
in war-torn regions; the pirated image is a detail of a photograph
taken in 1978. Months back while trolling the Web for news images
and such, I found the cropped detail w/ no credit line, probably
on some anti-NAFTA/anarchist solidarity website, printed it out and
stuck it in a folder to paint later. I had no idea it was a detail of a
pic by a Magnum photographer or that it was from their most
seminal series and book. The joke is definitely on me...”
Is Joy Garnett a plaigiarist? Is it "stealing" to use a figure from another's work in your own?
I'd sure like to see the original image, to see how much Garnett changed the image. What
would happen if Garnett submitted this work for credit in a university class?
Postscript: I had first seen the image, and the controversy, from BoingBoing's guestblogger.
Johannes Grenzfurthner is writer, artist and founding member of Vienna/Austria based
art-tech-philosophy group monochrom. monochrom is an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic
fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science and political activism. monochrom's mission, its
passion and quasi-ontological vocation, is primarily the collection, grouping, registration and
querying (liberation?) of the scar tissue represented by everyday cultural artifacts.
The original image is here--it is huge, 70 by 60 inches. The artist has exhibited the work at
on the work of others (news photographs) they are not mere copies; the works are transformed
by Garnett's craft (the act of painting) and vision (what is emphasized, what is left out.)
La artista Joy Garnett, que basa sus pinturas en fotografías encontradas en presa,
revistas e Internet, se ha visto implicada en una demanda judicial millonaria por
violación de derechos de autor. La fotógrafa Susan Meiselas, de la agencia Magnum,
la ha denunciado por emplear una de sus fotografías en un cuadro que Garnett
expuso en una galería de Nueva York. La fotografía de Meiselas, de 1978, reproduce
la imagen de un guerrillero sandinista a punto de tirar un cóctel Molotov elaborado
en una botella de Pepsi. Garnett encontró esta imagen, ya recortada y sin mención
de su autora, en una página web y la incorporó en una pintura.
La notícia de la demanda judicial se difundió rápidamente por Internet, en particular
a partir de una noticia publicada en el portal de arte en Internet Rhizome. La cuestión
de los derechos de autor de la fotógrafa sobre la imagen (no ya la foto en sí) y el
hecho de que el pleito obligaba a Garnett a retirar la imagen de su web y posiblemente
destruir la pintura, suscitó una rápida y airada reacción en la comunidad artística.
La imagen del cuadro de Garnett se copió en varios otros sitios web, para impedir su
censura, y se propuso elaborar variaciones a partir de la obra original en señal de
apoyo. Numerosos weblogs difundieron y comentaron el caso, que ha pasado a
denominarse "Joywar", en referencia a "Toywar", otro conocido caso judicial que
enfrentó al colectivo artístico eToy con una multinacional. La implicación fortuita de
Pepsi en la historia hizo pensar a muchos que era la empresa la que denunciaba a
Finalmente, el caso parece haber quedado en suspenso. La artista ha elaborado una
completa lista de los artículos que han recogido la historia, así como de las variaciones
que se han creado a partir del cuadro original. Pau ha participado en esta iniciativa
con una animación flash que figura entre las favoritas de la propia Garnett.
Joywar: lista de enlaces elaborado por Joy Garnett
"Molotov", animación flash por Pau Waelder
Joywar – autoři proti autorskému právu
by L.P.Fish; 9.4.2004 |
Před několika dny oznámila americká malířka Joy Garnettová, že její případ byl stažen od
soudu a že tak končí jeden z nejhezčích případů solidarity internetové komunity s kulturou
nových médií, který vstoupí do dějin jako Joywar. Případ celkem jednoduchý.
Joy Garnettová je malířka. Náměty svých obrazů čerpá z dokumentárních fotografií. Když
se na její webové stránce objevil obraz Molotov, namalovaný podle fotografie z demonstrace
publikované v tisku v roce 1978, přišla jí žaloba o náhradu škody v řádu tisíců dolarů. O tom
že se pojetí problému „autorských práv“ mění v souvislosti s rozvojem technologií a vznikem
nových médií asi není pochyb. O tom, že tento vývoj zahrnuje i řadu soudních sporů a právních
či mocenských excesů také ne.
Své by o tom mohli vyprávět hactivisti ze skupiny Yes Men, jejichž cynická parodie na stránky
koncernu Dow Chemical (pod který spadá firma Union Karbide odpovědná za jednu z největších
ekologických katastrof v indickém Bhópálu), rozčílila korporaci natolik, že se kromě žaloby na
samotnou organizaci pokusila zlikvidovat i intelektuální newyorský server Thing.
Garettová si však vzpomněla na jiný slavný případ. V roce 1999 byla přerušena činnost stránky
švýcarských internetových umělců a aktivistů etoy.com, na základě žaloby prodavačů hraček
Etoys, kteří tvrdili, že lidé jdou na doménu etoy.com automaticky pro jejich zboží a jsou zmateni
jejím obsahem. Snaha firmy Etoys vzbudila takovou zuřivost internetové komunity, že v období
jedna osmdesáti dnů nazývaném později jako Toywar uživatelé soustavně zahlcovali její server
a především způsobovali špatnou pověst protestními stránkami o nichž informovala i mainstreamová
média. Způsobili tak propad jejích akcií a škodu odhadnutou na několik desítek milionů dolarů. Od
té doby si na švýcarské aktivisty sídlící na etoy.com nedovolil nikdo sáhnout.
Ale vraťme se k Joy Garnettová. Ta zveřejnila na internetu svůj případ, v němž vysvětlila vlastní
postoj k autorským právům, k tomu proč je její obraz něco „nového“ jakkoli v něm zužitkovává
již vytvořený artefakt a požádala o pomoc. Okamžitě se vytvořily stránky šířící dál informace o
akci dál nazývané Joy War. Kopie fotografie, která byla předmětem žaloby, se bleskem rozšířila
a během několika týdnů vznikly stovky jiných uměleckých děl rozmístěných na stovkách míst na
internetu a všechna „samplovala“ zmíněnou fotografii. Žaloba byla stažena.
Na tomto případu je celkem hezké, že staví do opozice proti „autorskému právu“ samotné autory.
Ukázalo se, že autoři samotní chtějí „samplovat“, že je tato metoda v umělecké komunitě obecně
přijatelná a tak pomalu nezbývá přiznat, že „autorská práva“ v současné podobě vyhovují jen
jejich překupníkům. A to je jistě jeden z mnoha důvodů, proč tenhle stav změnit. Parodické použití
symbolů existující firmy či „samplování“ existujícího artefaktu prostě chápou umělci jako otázku
svobody. A kdo jiný než „autoři“ by měl rozhodovat o jejich „právech“?
UPDATE: April 2005 email from Esparzios Punk-Rock requesting permission to make a CD cover.
Here’s the finished cover.
[Note: some of the urls below may no longer contain references to this issue.]
Update: New to Joywar (ca. January 2005):
Getaway Experiment: Solidarity
Still Images: collage / agitprop
Moving Images / interactive
Info / blogs / + image/s
Info / linking blogs / bbs
Harper’s Magazine, February 2007
COMEDIES of FAIR U$E: A Search for Comity in the Intellectual Property Wars
April 28-30, 2006
New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU
13 minute talk (Quicktime): http://newsgrist.typepad.com/comediesoffairuse/
Slides from talk: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newsgrist/sets/72057594138438448/
Discussion on Laura Quilter’s blog: derivative works: comedies & tragedies of fair use
Blogging + The Arts 2: Hosted by
Rhizome at The New Museum
Rhizome.org Director of Technology Francis Hwang will lead a panel discussion on Blogging and the Arts. This panel, the second in a series hosted by Rhizome.org, includes painter and web-artist Chris Ashley, painter Joy Garnett, artist and programmer Patrick May, and writer Liza Sabater. The discussion will address issues such as ways that artists are using blogs to distribute their own work, and the influence of blogging culture on political issues of interest to those in the arts. [Thumbnail Archive of Joywar]
In Their Own Words: JOY GARNETT
Between Yahoo.com slide shows, 24-hour television news, and competing tabloid newspapers, we've become a culture that's accustomed to the sensations of media imagery. Here Joy Garnett describes how she transforms news photographs into paintings, a slowing-down process to counter what she sees as our culture's mal-absorption of images related to technology, surveillance and war. Read article
Between 0 and 1: Digital Rights and the Future of Art Images Online
College Art Association,
February 17, 2005, 12:30-2:00pm
Speakers: Chair, Eve Sinaiko, CAA; Christine Kuan,
Editor, Grove Art Online (
Max Marmor, The ARTstor Project; Ted Feder, Artists Rights Society; Joy Garnett, Artist.
Painting Mass Media & the Art of Fair Use
For streaming video (QuickTime) of my September ‘04 lecture please visit
the Art & Technology lecture series at
or go directly to the lecture:
“Steal This Look,” Intelligent Agent, Intellectual Property Issue, Vol.4, no.2 (Summer 2004)
This is a short piece about Joywar written very shortly afterwards:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
"Toward a Fair Use Standard," 103 Harv. L. Rev. 1111 (1990), by Judge Pierre Leval [source]
"The use must be productive and must employ the quoted matter in a different manner or for a different purpose from the original. A quotation of copyrighted material that merely repackages or republishes the original is unlikely to pass the test; in Justice Story's words, it would merely "supersede the objects" of the original. If, on the other hand, the secondary use adds value to the original -- if the quoted matter is used as raw material, transformed in the creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings -- this is the very type of activity that the fair use doctrine intends to protect for the enrichment of society. Transformative uses may include criticizing the quoted work, exposing the character of the original author, proving a fact, or summarizing an idea argued in the original in order to defend or rebut it. They also may include parody, symbolism, aesthetic declarations, and innumerable other uses."
General Information + Articles
“Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the
Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity” (Penguin 2004)
By Robert S. Boynton, Book Forum, Feb/Mar 2005
This is a brilliant article that promotes the various movements in copyright reform,
including the strategy of the “copyright misuse” doctrine as a way to bolster fair use.
Fundamentals of Intellectual Property
(Copyright + Trademark law – PDF files)
Astrachan Gunst & Thomas PC
a print magazine focused on issues surrounding
commercialism and American culture.
a web site “about fine art and pop culture. Lofty postmodern theory and grassroots resistance.”
Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age
VCE Art - Borrowed Elements in Art
Original photo by Susan Meiselas, c.1979
of original photograph:
“Molotov” painting (2003) Oil on canvas, 70 x 60 inches (Mirror sites)
B & W photo, cropped, uncredited
(found while searching for URL of fragment)