Saturday, November 19, 2005

Photoshop contests

The site has a number of graphics contests, including some that are worth money; it also hosts ads. When it runs a contest for images of superheroes Photoshopped into well-known artworks, is it engaging in copyright or trademark infringement? Contributory copyright or trademark infringement? Does the answer differ if the underlying artwork is still in copyright? In other words, even if the resulting work is transformative and critical with respect to the superhero, is it necessarily transformative and critical with respect to the original painting? My favorites include Spiderman in Norman Rockwell (note that the site hosts an image of the original Rockwell for comparison purposes: what result there?) and American Goblin, both of which would allow two sets of rights claimants to object. Also good, but potentially riling only one copyright owner at a time, are the Annunciation with Dalek, Henry Incredible, Jack Jack Madonna, and Wonder Woman.

Likewise, there are potential right of publicity issues with the Celebrity Cyborgs and Celebrity Time Travel contests (not to mention copyright issues with the specific photos used as the bases for these entries), and I'm not even sure what to say about the Racial Profiling series, which is pictures of celebrities manipulated to give them different racial markers, variously interpreted by the entrants to include skin tone, other facial/hair features, and cultural markers (bindi, dreadlocks, etc.). It's a popular topic, with many more entries than most of the other topics I browsed.

Finally, there is a rather charming gallery, Factory Fresh Plants, which would be useful for anyone interested in biological patents, showing images of machines melded into plants. Plug&Grow, Think Pink, and Circuitry Evolved are my favorites.

It is perhaps ironic, given the likely sources of most of the original images, that there are prominent warnings at the top of gallery pages indicating that Worth1000 claims copyright in the galleries and stating, "You may NOT repost any of the entries inside this gallery on external sites (including messageboards and non-profit sites) without Worth1000's express permission."

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