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Report of Net Art Theft Draws Lawyer Threats 211

Posted by kdawson
from the you-decide dept.
An anonymous reader sends in word of the well-known artist Todd Goldman, who has been accused of stealing images and ideas from an Internet comic artist/author and others, and profiting from them. Goldman has now threatened to sue the Web page that pointed out the apparent theft to the world.
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Report of Net Art Theft Draws Lawyer Threats

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  • Art Thieves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GearheadX (414240) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:16PM (#18861679)
    Considering the most common example I've seen, Todd's gonna have a very hard time covering his butt in a court.
  • Re:Art Thieves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sorthum (123064) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:20PM (#18861761) Homepage
    Same text, same perspective, same details, slightly crappier?

    Yeah, good luck suing your way out of this one, dude...
  • It's not libel... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j0nb0y (107699) <jonboy300NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:20PM (#18861769) Homepage
    It's not libel if it's true.

    IANAL.
  • by Divebus (860563) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:21PM (#18861789)
    Can bluster compensate for an indefensible position? Sometimes...
  • by Carthag (643047) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:24PM (#18861821) Homepage
    Liechtenstein never claimed to be the creator of the sources he appropriated. Goldman did.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:27PM (#18861879) Journal

    Can bluster compensate for an indefensible position? Sometimes...
    Bluster and money sure can.
  • by FatSean (18753) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:28PM (#18861889) Homepage Journal
    Please explain how the praying bunny example exhibits recontextualizing!
  • by umStefa (583709) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:32PM (#18861949) Homepage
    The purpose of this lawsuit may not be to actually recieve damages, it is probably simply to try and shut-up the source of the negative publicity.

    You do not need to win a court case for it to be advantage to you. If your goal is to stop a source of negative publicity, a lawsuit may casue the other party to simply shut-up instead of incurring large legal bills on a matter of principal. Of course, if the other party calls you on it and is willing to fight in court you end up getting MORE negative publicity.
  • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:35PM (#18862007) Journal
    So many people in the big leagues steal ideas.

    That's why I support GPL to the death.

    As an artist who has been completely ripped off, I'm glad to see someone with the opportunity to expose the fraud. There's absolutely nothing to fear from Mr. Goldman if their citing of the 2001 web comic is correct. In fact, I'd hire a particularly expensive lawyer just to make sure the legal fees being sent to Mr. Goldman's office are as high as they can possibly be. I don't think there's a more dispicable trait in this world than to claim someone else's work as your own. You simultaneously prevent the real creator from benefiting himself through his work while creating a false image of your brilliance.
  • Goldman has money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:41PM (#18862095) Homepage Journal
    All that money he's made selling shirts and paintings and stuff, where his assistants brought designs to him and he didn't bother to ask where they got them, well, he's gonna have no problem affording lawyers because he's rich.

    It's the poor saps he's stolen from who are going to take the beatings. Such is the way of things.

    By the way, the 2nd amendment also favours the rich, they can afford to arm themselves better than the poor.

    There seems to be a pattern here.
  • by cith (216335) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:46PM (#18862179)
    I've seen a number of articles like this pop up on /. recently. Generally, the topic is something like "XX tawdry action occurs... lawyers threaten to sue".

    While legal threats do carry weight of their own in our society, there's a BIG difference between threatening to sue and filing a legal document. The main difference is the consequences to the petitioner.

    If I threaten to sue someone and don't have sufficient grounds to do so, there's no consequence to me for making that argument. (other than PR and reputation).

    But once a lawyer files a document with the court, the lawyer or the plaintiff has signed a document that bears a signature alleging the facts within it are true. Not that it happens often, but the court could discipline you for a knowing falsehood.

    Take legal threats for what they're worth ... the value of the words alone.

    IANAL, etc, etc. If someone with a law degree wants to clean up or correct this post, have at it =D.
  • by j0nb0y (107699) <jonboy300NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:47PM (#18862203) Homepage
    I would agree with you, except that this instance of plagiarism is fairly well known at this point.

    A quick google search for his name brings up many pages repeating these allegations, and many of them back it up with image comparisons that are very damning.

    This man's reputation as an artist is already ruined.

    This legal threat is a desperate and foolish measure. The goal is to get rid of the allegations, but instead, the allegations will only be further spread.

    And worse, if the threat is followed through to a lawsuit, the website's author will have a chance to prove the allegations in court. A quick look at the evidence reveals that this would likely be a slam dunk for the defense.

    IANAL
  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @06:02PM (#18862403)
    Only in non-US locales. In the US truth is enough to defend yourself. That is why there is so much negative campaigning. The truth can be paraded around even if it's unrelated and humiliating (facts like "I really like naruto, a targetted kids show" or "I enjoyed kinky sex").
  • Re:Warhol he aint (Score:4, Insightful)

    by L. VeGas (580015) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @06:09PM (#18862487) Homepage Journal
    See, that's exactly what makes this interesting. If Goldman had only created a single work, instead of mass-producing t-shirts, people might say, "Hey, that's copied from this other place!" and let it go. Now suppose it was hanging in a museum, and the gift shop sold t-shirts or post cards of the copied work. Now, it's copyright infringement.

    Goldman tries to pass his violations off as "fine art", when it's pretty clear he's actually about the merchandising, and that crosses the line.
  • by Gregb05 (754217) <bakergo&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @06:54PM (#18862999) Journal
    With music/movies/software, we tend to support the college kids, families, and whomever is in the defense of the *AA lawsuits due to the fact that it appears about 90% of the time the "mafiaa" sue without enough incriminating evidence to actually win a lawsuit. Furthermore, it's highly doubtful that the music pirates would have actually bought the copyrighted material in the first place, and, as individuals, generally aren't distributing the music past 2-3 people.

    This guy is blatantly copying and selling (for a profit) the artwork of others. I think I speak for most of the /. readers when I say that if this guy had printed out the other artists' work from the website and hung it on his wall, it'd be the same scale of copyright violation as the *AA sue people for.

    Or, more concisely; mass reproduction, claiming ownership and selling for a profit != reproduction (solely) for home use.
  • by nuzak (959558) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @07:22PM (#18863245) Journal
    I think the BSD thing is a bit of a stretch -- yeah it's extremely derivative, but it's also different enough, adds elements, and mixes them in from other works. If pop art is your bag, this is actually decent.

    But since maestro Goldman is all about "recontextualization", I too will put that work in context, as just another bad-faith effort by a ripoff artist.

  • by Tweekster (949766) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @11:35PM (#18865439)
    You can sue anyone for anything in the US, but you cant go around using lawsuits as a threat.

    For a lawsuit to be legit it has to be the last resort not the first threat you pull out of the bag. not to mention it can never be and idle threat but a step by step escalation where legal action is warranted.

    He just put himself in an actionable position
  • by alshithead (981606) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @12:17AM (#18865799)
    "All that money he's made selling shirts and paintings and stuff, where his assistants brought designs to him and he didn't bother to ask where they got them, well, he's gonna have no problem affording lawyers because he's rich.

    It's the poor saps he's stolen from who are going to take the beatings. Such is the way of things."

    SCO can afford really good lawyers too. It isn't doing them any good. The cases I saw (yes, I RTFA) are without a doubt infringement for the ones that are copyrighted. He's going to take a beating on this especially with there being so many diverse sources of original (probably mostly) copyrighted images. Any moron judge or jury who can view the whole spectrum of his images compared to the "originals" will see a wholesale scheme of copying others' images and ideas. Doom and gloom. If I was his lawyer I'd tell him to settle. Of course I'm not a lawyer, I have ethics and scruples...his lawyers will just fight and bill him for every cent they can get while they fight (many) losing battles.
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:09AM (#18867935)

    SCO can afford really good lawyers too. It isn't doing them any good.


    That's because SCO made the stupid mistake of picking on somebody who can afford even *better* lawyers...

    Chris Mattern
  • Re:I'll bite... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QMO (836285) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @03:06PM (#18874127) Homepage Journal
    Several current conflicts demonstrate that tanks and jets are much more effective against armies than they are at pacifying hostile populations.

Save energy: Drive a smaller shell.

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