Copyright

August 27, 2009

The Toronto Star as an article about Virgin Mobile using this image without permission:

McDermott, 38, was strolling down a lane in the Irish capital when he spotted a visually stunning piece of street art – a young girl releasing a heart-shaped balloon – that closely resembled the work of the renowned British graffiti artist known as “Banksy,” despite a misspelling of the shadowy figure’s moniker.

A hobby photographer, he snapped a few pictures before the mural was scrubbed away. He later touched up the picture using a computer program and uploaded it to the photo-sharing website Flickr.

While he knew the photo was good, he was still shocked to learn this week that the same picture was being used by cellphone giant Virgin Mobile in its latest Canadian ad campaign.

“Virgin is a multibillion-dollar company,” McDermott said in an interview, adding he never gave anyone permission to use his image. “They should know better.”

McDermott believes he should be paid $US 1000 for the use of his photograph. The thing that I find most interesting is that this “visually stunning piece of street art” that we are told was going to be “scrubbed away” has a URL above it:

thisisnotashop.com

If you click through you will find that thisisnotashop.com is a not for profit art gallery. There is a Contact page with e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Somehow I don’t think the stunning piece of street art on the front of an art gallery is a coincidence.

Yes, “They should know better”. Virgin Mobile. McDermott. The Toronto Star. Chris Sorensen (the journalist). The only ones that seem ahead of the curve are the people who painted the URL above their gallery entrance.

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One Response to “Copyright”


  1. […] This is a tale of two newspaper stories about graffiti. The first story is a follow-up to the Graffiti Photophrapher vs. Virgin Mobile article I previously mentioned. In the post I noted that I found it ironic that the image in […]


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