Fair Use And Transformation

Lynn Goldsmith took the photo on the left. She recognized the Warhol silkscreen on the right as her material, and challenged the Warhol Foundation over fair use, in a copyright infringement case.

Fair use – when one artist can borrow from another without permission or payment – hinges on “transformation,” in the law. When the goals and function of the secondary work in question are quite different from the original, transformation is said to occur. Last month a New York appeals court found in favor of Goldsmith: they reversed a lower court decision, and said that the standard of transformation was not met.

Transformation is probably a deep, aesthetic, philosophical and cultural concept – so it’s comical when courts try to sort it out.

Right?

A few years back, a bevy of art critics declared that Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 sculpture called “Fountain” — a store-bought urinal he had presented, unchanged, as art — was the most influential work of the 20th century.

Mank

Gary Oldman plays Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to complete the first draft of the ”Citizen Kane” script. Along the way, Mankiewicz, known throughout Hollywood as a charming but deeply cynical alcoholic, locks horns with Orson Welles over nearly every element of the film’s story. That feud that would continue beyond the film’s release as Mankiewicz believed Welles was trying to take credit for his work and spent the rest of his life resenting him for it.

”Mank” is more than 20 years in the making, as David Fincher’s father, Howard ”Jack” Fincher, wrote the screenplay back in the late 1990s. He passed away in 2003. The film marks Fincher’s return to feature filmmaking for the first time since his 2014 Oscar-nominated film ”Gone Girl,” having spent the last six years working on Netflix series like ”House of Cards” and ”Mindhunter.”

Realistic Cartoon Characters

From Design You Trust. Yikes.

Ontario-based artist Miguel Vasquez seeks to distort our feelings about these cartoon characters with some reality twists. He creates realistic renditions of famous cartoon characters that might even disturb you.

Whole Lotta Borrowing

Speaking of The Small Faces, here’s their take on Muddy Waters’ “You Need Love.”  You’ll note that Robert Plant, who used to run errands for The Small Faces, later put this to use in “Whole Lotta Love.”  Some music nerds give themselves wedgies over all this, but you’ve gotta concede that Jimmy Page improved it by adding one of the all-time greatest rock riffs.  Fun Fact: when JP was forming what would become Led Zeppelin, Steve Marriott was high on his list of singers until The Small Faces’ manager threatened to break his hands.

By the way, below is the single version of “Whole Lotta Love” which cut out the free-form middle section of bongos, theremin, and Robert Plant gearing up for a sneeze that never comes.  Atlantic did originally put out the whole song as a single, but radio stations would create their own versions without the middle part.  Atlantic responded by re-releasing its own edited single over the objections of the band.  So if you didn’t own the lp and listened to AM radio, this is what you usually heard: