The wildly successful Kickstarter campaign Blackprints is currently at the center of a heated controversy over stolen images that has already involved one copyright dispute. It seems that the campaign’s creator, Sabrina Chun, might have taken to acquiring photos of cars off of the Internet, changing them to black and white minimalist versions, and selling them as part of this campaign. (See Update)
It would be easy to say that Chun is obviously in the wrong here, but the recent ruling regarding Richard Prince may have some judges actually siding with her if this was to go to court. Who’s to say the minimalist versions don’t convey “a new expression, meaning or message?”
And if she were in the UK, she could always argue that she found the photos as orphans online. Needless to say, recent copyright legislation seems to open up a can of worms regarding whether or not Chun’s use would be classified as fair … let us know what you think.
It’s hard to say whether the remainder of the photos she is using are fair game or not, but it’s entirely possible that other photographers are having their work modified and used by this campaign [see update below], which has already raised a whopping $66,000 (the goal was only $5,000).
To see if you recognize any other copyrighted photography being used as part of the campaign, head over to the Blackprints kickstarter page by clicking here.
According to A Photo Editor, the issue was first brought to light when someone noticed that the minimalist print of a Shelby Cobra that Chun was using was actually a black-and-white version of photographer Bruna Ratensperger‘s work.
This led to a copyright dispute that got Blackprints taken down momentarily, but the campaign is now back up using a less identifiable Shelby image alongside the rest of the prints.