Tuesday, February 08, 2005

City With A (Private) View

Chicago Bean
Originally uploaded by DickStock.

There seems to be a proliferation of Public art and architecture that has had it's image copyrighted to disallow photos. Cory Doctorow, at Boing Boing, has brought attention to the latest entry in this farce.

Chicago's public sculpture can't be photographed by the public.

Chicago spent $270 million on its Millennium Park, placing a big public sculpture by Anish Kapoor in the middle of it, bought with public money. Woe betide any member of the public who tries to photograph this sculpture, though: it's a copyrighted sculpture and Chicago is spending even more money policing Chicagoans who try to photograph it...

This is even more shocking to me than the latest copyrighted architecture story: the Eiffel Tower, which can no longer be photographed at night because the folks who designed the new lighting for it have copyrighted it.

I think these stories (these events!) shock those of us who are accustomed to believing in something called Public Space and are a illustration of the reality that there is no Public Space - certainly in an urban environment. This is a sad fact that the homeless are already to aware of (hence, the illegality of their existence)

It surprised me that Anish Kapoor would be involved in such an act because he's an artist. But, it shouldn't have. As the art industry shows it's corporate colours, we'll see more of this, I'm sure.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea how the law of copyright works in the US or Canada. Here in the UK, unless they specifically sell it or pass it on, artists would retain the rights to the images of their work.
That would mean that no-one can use images of their work without their permission, even if the artist no longer owned the work. So, with public art, the public body that commissions and exhibits it will have no right to say yay or nay to use of that image (unless that was part of the deal, which it may well be of course).
To imply that this is some sort of nasty behaviour by the artists is a bit rich - it is just the order of things.
Of course, most things have a copyright, but this does not preclude the taking of pictures of them - just the reproduction of those pictures in the public domain.
There may well be some bylawys that preclude the use of cameras in public places here - but that will have nothing really to do with copyright or with the artist.

11:31 AM  

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