Some More on Fair Use


MobyLives has extended the discussion Andy Baio started on his project Kind of Bloop, which I wrote about for The Rumpus on Saturday. MobyLives makes a good point when talking about one of Baio’s examples, that of the artist Jeff Koons, who won a copyright infringement suit in 2006 for his appropriation of fashion photographs. They point out that Koons lost a similar lawsuit in 1996 for a sculpture he made based on a photograph.

But here’s the thing I take away most from this new information: the fact that Koons lost the 1996 lawsuit is evidence that copyright law is enforced irregularly at best, and might be irretrievably broken. Seriously, go look at the example and then argue that the sculpture isn’t transformative. If you want to know why I describe myself as a fair use anarchist, it’s because of examples like these.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →