10 April 2007

Second Graders Learn Copyright Lesson the Hard Way

teacherartexchange digest: April 08, 2007

Subject: Second Graders Learn Copyright Lesson the Hard Way
From: "Judy Decker" <***>
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2007 13:10:36 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

Dear Art Educators,

One teacher's second graders learned a lesson in copyright law the hard way. They created watercolor paintings of dogs in the style of Daniel Kessler.

The teacher was so excited about the children's paintings that she emailed the artist giving him her Artsonia link. Daniel Kessler was not flattered by the second graders' imitation of his work. Rather, he had his lawyer contact Artsonia directly to have the work removed from he site.

Here is just one sample of the second grade paintings - all were very similar to Kessler's
Students used different colors but all were similar - with apple on dog's head. This image will only be at this location for a short time - for illustrative purposes.

Second graders copying his style was not Fair Use.

You can read the discussion on this thread on Art Education list.

I think we can all come up with a way this lesson could have been done that would not have violated copyright so I won't list ideas here. I will post one reply from *** as it was a good one.

From ***:

At the risk of being in the minority and raising the ire of some of this list, may I suggest that Kessler has a point? Because there is little variation between and among the artworks produced by the children, I suspect that Kessler viewed this not so much as children learning about his style; rather that the dogs are copies of his work.

Kessler's dog illustrations are the source of his livelihood. They are copyrighted images (this is plainly stated on his website) in the same way that books are copyrighted. For them to be copied and then sold--regardless that the copying was by children and regardless that they are cute--is taking from the artist's source of income.

From ****** Thu Apr 05 13:40:46 2007

I'm so bummed about what just happened. I had my 2nd graders make these awesome abstract dogs in the style of Danie l Kessler, living artist from Washington DC.

I told my students I would email him after I uploaded their artwork to our online gallery on Artsonia and send him a link so that he co uld admire their attempt to imitate his work.

I thought he would be flattered. Instead, he had his lawyer contact Artsonia and delete the whole gallery claiming it was a copyright i nfringement.

What? Artsonia makes money on parents buying items with student artwork on it. But a large number of pieces of art teachers have students make is based on famous art. Should all that be deleted too?

What I think it all amounts to is bad news for my poor 2nd graders who had an art teacher who thought she had a good idea in contacting the artist. Bummmmmmer.

And besides, my students' artwork would have only made people more curious about Daniel Kessler and more likely to buy his work.

I put some of these abstract dogs on my school website if you want to see w hat I'm talking about: [dead link]


editors note

I was asked to remove the url of a dead link .... what difference does it make?

who knows?

1 comment:

blakkbyrd said...

Art Education list, like many yahoo lists, has a public archive which is broadcast on an rss feed


The information I posted was publically available on the art education blog.

I always listen to polite requests, but I do not obey demands.