[by Blake Discher]
It’s been 27 years since Robert Fulghum published, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” In it he wrote, “Don’t take things that aren’t yours.”
An origami artist is suing an abstract painter claiming that the painter improperly used his designs without his consent. The painter maintains that because her work consists of paintings rather than photographs, she has not misappropriated any of his designs and presented them as her own. The artist believes his copyright has been violated, the painter does not. The courts will decide.
When I read reports like this one, I have to wonder: how would the outcome be different if the painter had just asked the origami artist of she could paint his designs. I wonder if he would have just said, “no problem.”
In the last two Julys, I have participated in the 48-hour Film Project in Detroit. Both times, our rag-tag team has asked local musicians if we could use their music in our films for free or a small token of cash. And both times they said yes. They were excited for us and wished us luck in the competition I believe, because they were fellow artists.
Of course, if we were producing a film for corporate use or commercial release and there was financial backing or potential revenue involved, that’s a completely different situation. In that case, any artists with which we’d collaborate should stand to gain from their contribution to the project.
The bottom line? Why not ask permission before you appropriate another artist’s work. Remember, don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Blake J. Discher’s book on networking, “Stop Your Grumbling, Get Out There! (The Essential Guide: Networking to Improve Your Bottom Line)” is now available from Amazon.
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