December 5, 2012

Finding surreal Google street views...

... and presenting them as your own art. 

It is (or is like) the old tradition of found art.

35 comments:

edutcher said...

It's art because Puffington says so?

McTriumph said...

Bad art is still art.

garage mahal said...

I bet moonshiners hope they never see google street view come around. I have to say I'm completely captivated by that series on Discovery. I cannot stop watching it. Even the reruns!

chickelit said...

Someone has Dada issues.

Lem said...

Truth...

Thats how Obama found UBL.

Darrell said...

When it sells, Google will take him to court for copyright violation.

wyo sis said...

It's a lot of work to find these, so I can agree with found, not so much with art.
It would make a cute coffee table book.

Lem said...

So... are we going over the cliff or what?

The worst part of this is not whether or not we are going over the cliff... the worst part is the feeling of certitude I have that whatever they decide to do it will be the worst possible outcome.

Every major decision, since Obama got Health Care thru, has gone his way... raising the debt, the supremes giving Obamacare a pass... Obama gets re-elected...

Thats 3 Super Bowls loses... Theres only supposed to be one more loss and thats it.

Lem said...

Oh shit... on second thought... My football analogy is worst than I first thought.

Its only halftime... Obama is running up the score.

deborah said...

Chick, thy name be evil genius.

Lem said...

I've heard suggestions that Obama may seek to nationalise 401ks/Pension savings... there are over 100 trillions there.

If we "go over the cliff" Obama could use it as an opportunity to declare a national emergency take the money and give people I-owe-youS.. or something.

I believe the Argentinians did something like that... and it didn't work out... they are going broke again.

deborah said...

Lem, I found an interesting Chait article. The pertinent part starts on page three, paragraph five. It speaks of Obama's bargaining power due to the Bush tax cuts ending at the same time sequestration is to kick in, and that the cliff is better thought of a slope, and that when a deal is finally made, it can be made retroactive. The most interesting quote, I think is:

"In fact, though Obama officials are very careful not to say so, they may not view the threat of ending the Bush tax cuts on income below $250,000 a year as a threat at all. If no deal is made, remember, Democrats win by default: Their most cherished domestic priorities are protected, and the Republicans’ are assailed"(page 6)

http://nymag.com/
news/politics/
elections-2012/
obama-romney-
economic-plans-2012-10
/index2.html

Popville said...

R. Mutt, not. Whimsical, maybe.

Reviewing Rafman's choices none stand out to the level of say Elliott Erwitt. Picks: guy standing on edge of road in fog, and lady (Chinese?) walking along concrete walkway/marsh wall.

Chip Ahoy said...

It's broadly accepted by those who have known them, an outdoor dog indoors lives a rich imaginative life.

Some do. Special dogs do. Handlers and owners respond to these special animals automatically without even realizing sometimes exactly the nobility they're close to. They give them names of authority, kings, philosophers, warriors and such, people of note, even gods.

The dogs do quietly exercise their unique magical talents when time allows and calm prevails and there are no noisy people around pestering their singular canid repose.

Chip Ahoy said...

I forgot to say that's an example of found art.

tim maguire said...

Found art involves some manipulation by the artist--what is shown is not exactly what was found. This is more like going deep into the stacks at the library and republishing the books under his name.

Aridog said...

Google Street is not art, not even found art,...Chip's Dog-Fishy is art, fount art because he says you may take it, and represents a modicum of effort on his part adding to what he found (the doggie)...and Palladian's work is art, but not found art, because he creates from scratch and doesn't normally give it away. Even the Ann-Meade photos of the the dogs are art...some thought and direct creativity went in to it...they didn't find it and copy it.

Now to go OT in the spirit of the thread so far (Lem and Deborah)....

deborah said...

"In fact, though Obama officials are very careful not to say so, they may not view the threat of ending the Bush tax cuts on income below $250,000 a year as a threat at all. If no deal is made, remember, Democrats win by default: Their most cherished domestic priorities are protected, and the Republicans’ are assailed"

Oh, but they do say so...Geithner was all over cable blah blah yapping services yesterday or the day before saying precisely that.

As far as the Democratic strategy of letting all of the bush tax cuts expire and blaming Republican "intransigence" ....that has been the obvious default concept from way before the election, let alone now. Republicans boxed themselves in to that corner long ago. That was and is "The Plan."

It is a planned crisis, letting the obvious molder for about a year, to be taken full advantage of this month before Obama and his "get" go off on vacation to Breezy Point, Queens, NYC....oh, wait...and Congress goes home for the Christmas & New Years holidays.

Oh, and those discussions going on now between the sides...all BS, if you note that the annual deficit is 1 Trillion or so plus annually for the next 10 years, and the savings from "cuts", like more whacks at Medicare, from both parties, have very small print whispered at the end of the announcements....pssst: X dollars annually cut annually (spread) over 10 years ...e.g., 800 or 350 billion spread over 10 years versus a 10 year added deficit of 10+/- Trillion.

Finally, Obama and his administration is capable of nationalizing anything they want...they've already tested those waters in Automotive and Banking.

pm317 said...

Take third world street pictures and call it art! Yeah, they look strange and artsy.

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Bruce Hayden said...

When it sells, Google will take him to court for copyright violation.

Starting with Jon Rafman, selection and organization is sufficient for copyright protection, as long as there is sufficient original expression, which I think there surely is in this case.

The case for a Google copyright though is a bit more problematic. If you have a car running up and down the streets recording everything it sees, there is a question about original expression. The more automated it is, the harder the claim for original expression, and, thus, copyright protection. What Google would need to do is to show the human element (and, thus, original expression) in the creation of their street views, and, in particular, the street views that are being claimed as being protected by copyright.

Then, if Google does have a copyright on some of the views that Jon Rafman has used, things get a bit more sticky. A copyright owner controls the right to make derivative works using his copyright protected works. And, thus, Rafman might be taken to be infringing that part of Google's copyrights. BUT, then you get into license, and, in particular, implied versus explicit license, and maybe even whether Google has a putative clickwrap license violated by Rafman (and whether this sort of clickwrap license is viable in the first place).

As to whether it is art - Ann is more the expert here than I, but I think that Rafman's work surely is, at least by my definition.

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden said...

Starting with Jon Rafman, selection and organization is sufficient for copyright protection, as long as there is sufficient original expression, which I think there surely is in this case.

Oh, please, with all due respect for your legal expertise...by that criteria every little old librarian using the Dewey Decimal System is an artist. Rafman selected and organized the work of others, regardless of the automated medium Google used...Google is an "other." Where is the "original expression" of Rafman?

Just the sorting? If so, every brick layer is also an artist for his sorting and stacking of bricks with concrete binding. I could actually make an argument that skilled tradesmen require more artistry...than Rafman's cataloging of images he didn't create.

It takes all kinds I presume...there really are people who think silk screen impressario Andy Warhol was an artist....because he copied everything in sight and mostly used the same process as tee shirt vendors use to be creative. I create Warhol with brilliant entrepreneurship, promotion of his "factory", bordering on grifting, but not artistry. Others mileage may vary.

PS: My own child is a collector of relatively recent Peter Max original paintings. I struggle to be kind toward her collection. Her attitude is right, though...she buys what she likes not what others tell her to like. I'm like that with wines and cognac. Michigan is death valley for cognac lovers, but one fine varietal does get in here...Kelt, which is still affordable if you don't guzzle the stuff...unlike Louis XIII Black Pearl at $1700 a fifth here. No Camus XO, not even Martel Cordon Bleu anymore. There is a certain artistry in brandy making...re-bottling on makers product and calling it something doesn't make it art. YMMV here also.

Max's paintings long ago were artistic, and today, his initial renderings also qualify...but today he paints (or has others paint in his "factory") multiple copies each slightly, very slightly different, and gets between $5000 and $30,000 for them. Same for Leroy Neiman "seriographs" ...aka silk screen copies of his original paintings, that also sell for thousands...for fundamentally tee shirt technology reproductions.

Neiman and Max are artists, no doubt, but even better hustlers. Good for them. Even Warhol was artistic, but mostly a supreme hustler. Rafman is a hustler without first being an artist.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh, please, with all due respect for your legal expertise...by that criteria every little old librarian using the Dewey Decimal System is an artist. Rafman selected and organized the work of others, regardless of the automated medium Google used...Google is an "other." Where is the "original expression" of Rafman?

Let me suggest that you start with Feist v. Rural Telephone. That case concerned an attempt by a telephone directory company to protect their phonebooks through copyright. The case held a couple of things. One was that selection and organization was sufficient for copyright. Another was that the bar was extremely low. But, even then, since there essentially was no selection and the organization was set (alphabetic sort, etc), the very low bar for copyright protection was not overcome.

As noted in Feist, the threshold is pretty low for copyright protection. Under U.S. law, copyright automatically attaches to my comments, as well as yours, and, as well as a young kid drawing with Crayons or maybe even sorting and arranging their set of model cars.

Copyright gets a little more problematic with your example of brick laying. The problem is functionality. You can't protect functionality with copyright. So, yes, a brick layer selecting bricks by their color would likely create an original work, but if he used size or how well they fit together instead, then probably not. The concept is called "filtration", and in most of the Circuits, you need to filter out unprotectable elements (such as functionality) before looking for the original expression needed for copyright.

Unknown said...

One man's found art is another man's copyright violation.

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me suggest that you start with Feist v. Rural Telephone.

Again, I mean to respond respectfully to your knowledge of the law...but why would I consider copyright cases when I didn't challenge or support anyone's copyright? We're addressing different issues perhaps? You've asserted a measure of creativity by Rafman, and that is all I question ...to me calling a cataloging art is bunk.Copyrighted or not.

No doubt, bunk can be copyrighted...I just don't care. Hell the Warhol heirs are still fighting over his sundry rights last time I checked...again I don't care because I considered him a premier hustler, but not an artist...just copying, however ordered, or executed (Warhol again),is not art to me....though it may be copyrighted.

I do "get" your point about "selecting and ordering" .... thousands of coffee table photo collection books all have copyrights, and I am close friends with a couple photographers and a free lance photojournalist, all of whom feel their works are due copyright protection. If I were to assemble their original files in to a book I'd owe them for the original effort. My copy right, if any, would be for my selecting and ordering...which is a creative task, but not art.

Here's a question regarding the graffiti artist "Banksy." Who owns Banksy's art work on property he doesn't own? Who owns it if no one claims the property by virtue of paying taxes thereon? Who owns it if abandoned by the edifice property owner and removed by an art collector?

There is/was a case like that in Detroit that I haven't found the outcome of, if settled at all. Google was no real help.

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden ... I hope I am not offending you. One of the reasons I visit here is to learn things I don't know, to expand my viewpoints, and with a few exceptions who pollute more than contribute, I get what I am looking for...knowledge.

When I am intimately familiar with a topic I give my opinion, but part of that is to see if alternatives are posed. It beats the hell out of 90% of any television. :-)

deborah said...

Aridog, I meant to mention to Lem that this was a pre-election article. I just thought it was a fascinating read to see how the Republicans made their own trap, and now Obama is in the driver's seat. What are the odds he will actually let them all expire for the sake of revenue? He's an imperious sort of guy and might be willing to take the hit on unpopularity, but would he risk a recession?

As far as nationalizing anything? Of course, but 401Ks? People's own money? Can't even imagine it would be a serious consideration.

Disclaimer: I don't know from economics :)

deborah said...

Google street view films homes and people without permission. I don't exactly get why they're entitled to own everything they capture; they are not being selective.

Aridog said...

Deborah...Obama won't take the hit, Republicans will. That is the beauty of the trap the Democrats laid. Taxes go up for everyone 01 Jan 2013 if the Republican controlled House doesn't agree to everything Obama wants...he has already loudly announced he won't sign any bill that fails his demands, even if the Senate passes it. For Obama it is win-win...for everyone else it's bend over, we're gonna drive you home.

Bruce Hayden said...

Google street view films homes and people without permission. I don't exactly get why they're entitled to own everything they capture; they are not being selective.

The Supreme Court in Feist attacked that issue straight on, and made clear that "sweat of the brow" is not sufficient for copyright protection. That was all that they found in the selection and organization of the phone books, and since the organization was obvious (essentially alphabetical), there was not sufficient original expression to support copyright protection.

Keep in mind that most photography is considered to have sufficient original expression, but that is because the photographer typically does provide some editorial control over what pictures they take,what settings to use, etc. Nevertheless, the automated aspect of much of the Street Views photography, along with it being stitched automatically together (and, thus, presumably normalized and further removing remaining original expression), would strongly support the position that much of the Google Street Views photography is not protected by copyright.

I say much because I strongly suspect that there is some editorial control or the like over some of the more remote photography, esp. in places where the roving automobiles are not feasible. And, some of that may be implicated here with the Rafman works.

Bruce Hayden said...

Again, I mean to respond respectfully to your knowledge of the law...but why would I consider copyright cases when I didn't challenge or support anyone's copyright? We're addressing different issues perhaps? You've asserted a measure of creativity by Rafman, and that is all I question ...to me calling a cataloging art is bunk.Copyrighted or not.


But Rafman appears to go far beyond merely cataloging Google Street View photography. No attempt is made to reproduce all of it, or, even a very small subset of it. Rather, out of the millions and billions of frames, he selects a very small number.

Maybe this analogy would be helpful here. An author (not in the legal copyright sense, but rather, in the everyday sense) picks and arranges a finite number of words from a larger number of possible finite words into a hopefully pleasing sequence and collection of words resulting sometimes in something of value. Rafman here picks and arranges probably a smaller number of photos out of a much larger number of potential photographs in again a pleasing sequence and collection of photos that presumably has some value (not that value is required for copyright protection, because it isn't - rather just for actual damages).

(I qualified the use of the word "author" because it is a term of art in copyright law, including any creator of an original work (that is not a phonorecord), including photographers and Rafman here. Indeed in the typical work-for-hire situation, the employer is considered the "author" and not the actual creator of the work).

Bruce Hayden said...

Here's a question regarding the graffiti artist "Banksy." Who owns Banksy's art work on property he doesn't own? Who owns it if no one claims the property by virtue of paying taxes thereon? Who owns it if abandoned by the edifice property owner and removed by an art collector?

Technically, legally probably, the owner of the building owns one copy of the original work, but the copyright will typically remain with the "author" (i.e. artist here). Thus, someone photographing the graffiti, including usually the owner of the house, would presumably need to get the permission of the graffiti artist in order to make the photograph. This is really little different from the rights you get when you buy a painting.

Except for one thing - normally you can destroy copies of an original work protected by copyright if you own it. Not necessarily when it comes to art on buildings and the like. The law was amended awhile back to carve out an exception for the destruction of certain types of works, and it was envisioned that it would mostly apply to art on buildings. Not all art though, just sufficiently recognized art. Something like that.

deborah said...

Thanks, Ari and Bruce.

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden said...

But Rafman appears to go far beyond merely cataloging Google Street View photography

Appearance being in the eye of the beholder. To my eyes, it ain't art, just compiled plagiarization. We are going to agree to disagree, like my daughter and I, although to her I'd never acknowledge the disagreement.

I'll never say it to her mainly because she is doing one of things I tried hard to instill in her....deciding for herself what she likes, not letting others, including me, tell her what she should like. Her money, her choice.

The hard part for me (to shut up about) is my suspicion that painters use "factories" to re-produce images of the initial artwork, on an assembly line basis using artists in training, so to speak.

Thanks for the conversation.... I have learned a few things. Among them is to kill off any artist whose work I steal ;-)

I know the principal attorney in the local Banksy affair...I'll try to find out if and how it was resolved.

Aridog said...

Bruce & Deborah...aren't we violating protocol here? I mean aren't we supposed to call each "f'ing moron" or "ignorant M-F'ers" or something?

No?

Bruce Hayden said...

.aren't we violating protocol here? I mean aren't we supposed to call each "f'ing moron" or "ignorant M-F'ers" or something?

Not really. Name calling usually just turns people off. Or, at least it turns me off. Evidence to me that the person doing so isn't making a logical argument - maybe because they can't, or maybe because they aren't bothering to.