Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Interesting case of unauthorized use of an artistic drawing for advertising commerce leads to interesting legal questions, for a lot of businesses down the road


Storm tonight, although here the Sun looks like a UFO 

Leonard French with his Lawful Masses Channel examines a bizarre case that touches copyright and maybe trademark.

Artist Jonas Jodicke had created an image of two lions butting heads, and musician Aaron Carter had used it on some of his merch and on his website, without a license or permission (it’s called “ripping” the content, a term more common with extracting videos without a license for content).

Jodicke sued Carter, and Carter did not respond,  That made possible a two-step process, entered by a clerk of court:  a “default”, and then a “default judgment”.  In this case, the judge finally denied a default judgment as too extreme.

I think the concept has appeared before, for example Janus Films had opposing faces.

The case may be interesting for anyone who wants to use artwork (or a brief musical extract) to help sell their product or service.  There could be issues of copyright, or maybe of “trade dress”.

I’ve noticed that teen entrepreneur Max Reisinger uses what looks like a realistic drawing of an alien city on his website to introduce his clothing business Perspectopia.   The fictitious city has an architecture suggestive of China with spires and towers.  You wonder what a hotel room there would be like, and would it have social media.  Now maybe an extrasolar planet capable of harboring an alien civilization will be awarded that name some day (or maybe an asteroid will)  I have no idea whether he drew this himself, but it would look nice on a t-shirt itself.  But he would probably need to have either drawn it himself or licensed it from an artist who had, to use it commercially.

There are classical records of postromantic works that use art work on their CD covers (and sometimes copied onto YouTube) suggestive of alien planet cities or surfaces  (one of the best is for a recording of Scriabin’s Symphony #1).  Again, the record companies (or possibly YouTube creator, if adding it) would need to have either drawn the alien planet surface or licensed one from an artist (possibly a painting).  You can use Mars robot rover photos from NASA on Mars, those should be public domain. 

I can think of a practical application for me.  I just froze (into official copyright status) my screenplay “Second Epiphany”.  There is a good question as to whether I should try to justify commercial use of my “” name my incorporating the name into the screenplay title (which I did with the official registration). Most of the screenplay takes place on Titan, where there is a settlement comprising a reception-medical station, a tubular stricture called a “core”, and a methane lake and a mysterious tower near it.  Attached to the colony is a tall cylindrical O’Neill structure, rotating, that will become a spaceship for escaping to another solar system (maybe to “Perspectopia”).  The cylinder (indoors, where it rotates for artificial gravity) comprises 5 separate intentional communities, and a “City”, connected by a mysterious “Mobius monorail”, as well as conventional roads.  So you could design a T-shirt showing the entire arrangement on Titan on the front, and the geography of the world inside the cylinder on the back.  Maybe that could help sell my screenplay.  It’s a possible business strategy that I would not have thought of if French had not made this video about the Jodicke two-lions case and if Reisinger had just posted a humorous video Tuesday about his college applications.


No comments: