Monday, June 28, 2010

Stylin' (UPDATED)

Mike Madison has some thoughts on the Christo-"influenced" AT&T TV ad (mentioned earlier here). He's not sympathetic to the claim "that copyright protects a creator’s 'style,' rather than particular works," and links to an early post of mine on the subject.

But why shouldn't copyright protect an artist's style, particularly when it's as distinctive as Madison concedes Christo and Jeanne-Claude's is here?

What's the argument -- from a policy perspective, rather than a formalist reading of the statute -- for protecting an individual work by these artists (certainly AT&T could not have used photos of The Gates in the ad) but not a generic work that is unmistakenly in their style, that is clearly intended to evoke their work?

Why protect all the particular Pollocks (or Rothkos or Newmans or etc.) but not a "composite" work that everyone would immediately recognize as "a Pollock"?

What do we hope to achieve by protecting the former, and aren't all the same goals met by protecting the latter?

UPDATE: Some thoughts from Michael Rushton.