Re: [rumori] Re: [plunderphonia] sampling = free promotion

nakedrabbit (
Mon, 12 Jul 1999 14:07:31 -0700

>->Interestingly enough, I have just been involved in a case remarkably
>->similar to this analogy. Anyone want to hear the story?
>yes, please. do tell.

I'm an animator, and I worked most recently with the Disney's "One
Saturday Morning" show. The segment I ddirected was called "Mrs.
Munger's Class," and it was a 90-sec. interstitial piece chronicling the
antics of a classroom full of wacky students - all of whom had been made
with a photocollage technique combining actual student photographs from
70's yearbooks.

Now, I'm a careful theif when it comes to things like this - no
identifiable visual plunderquotes in this situation for me. But the
artist who designed the characters before I was hired was not so careful,
or so smart. He used pictures from one page of his middle school
yearbook, and didn't exactly hide the identities of his gradeschool chums.

Naturally, the show was in it's second season before the good students of
Woodbridge Middle School decided to sue.

Apparently they recognized themselves, and, instead of following the
standrad procedure (which goes soemthing like this: "Ring, ring,"
"Hello?" "Hello, Disney, you've been using my photo. Pay up." "OK, how
much do you want?" "Oh, 10 grand will be fine,") these nimrods decide
to retain the services of a ruthless shark lawyer who has put all his
kids through orthodontia suing ABC for ridiculous things.

In the end they'll probably each get $1.98 for their troubles, or die
waiting for it, while the lawyers all divvy up the pie, which, I've been
told by sources, is well into the millions.

Now, if you ask me, these people have no rights to their images from this
middle school yearbook. The copyright is held by the yearbook company,
and it is never renewed. The rights to the negatives used are held by
the photographer, who doubtlessly does not keep either records of them
nor retain any specific rights. So why are they suing? Why was the
"show" taken off the air? Why am I now out of a job?

Because, as we've seen so many times before, the "law," as practiced in
this country, is simply a tool for people to bully each other into
submission. And whether or not it's a corporation bullying individuals
into submssion or, curiously, a handful of individuals bullying a
corporation into submission, the emphasis is never on what is "right" or
what the law allows. These people are suing for damages done to their
psyches and their health, and they are claiming an intent (on the part of
the original artist as well as Disney!) to personally malign them!

Interesting, eh? I'm no fan of corporations, certainly, and definitely
no fan of the Mouse, but I can't really condone what these people are
doing - something in my gut tells me they are wrong - that they have no
rights to these photos, that we aren't using a real person's name or
face, (like in our example of smearing the town with posters of someone
and the legend "rapist" underneath or something) and that this case will
set a bad example for any collage-inspired art that I can possibly do in
the future. Already several segments which used public domain clipart
and other image fragments were canned because they might be considered
similar in some possible way.

So let's see what people think about this - it'll test your true
intentions, all right. Does another corporation have the same rights to
use recycled fragments as an artist?

Naked Rabbit P.O. Box 36673 LA CA 90036 |||||

Rumori, the Discussion List
to unsubscribe, send mail to
with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
Rumori list archives & other information are at

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Sharerights extended to all.