News came yesterday that the Lily drone would not be released and preorders would be refunded. The company indicated an inability to secure the funds needed for a production run, despite having raised $34 million. However, Lily Robotics failed to mention that they are also being sued by the San Francisco district attorney for false advertising and unfair business practices.
I'll admit, I was a little shocked when I came across Henri Kack's Reddit post last week. That's right, the band notorious for taking down Napster in the Northern California Lawsuit filed in December of 1999, is now being accused of using an image from a concert photographer/fan without permission. Released on the band's official Metallica YouTube page on November 17, 2016, in the latest video for their song "Murder One" you can see at 5:33 the image in question. Although altered and animated, it's clear that this is indeed the same image that can be found on Kack's DeviantArt page.
Remember artist Richard Prince? If you don’t know him by name, you’ll know him by scandal. Two years ago, Prince launched a series of photos titled, "New Portraits," which by-and-large consisted of stealing photographers’ work and uploading it to his own Instagram profile, after which he screen-shot the results and printed them out, calling it his own art. Unsurprisingly, his controversial series led to four lawsuits against him. Now, he’s facing a fifth lawsuit involving a photograph of Sonic Youth musician Kim Gordon.
Those of us working within the creative industry are often held captive to an unwritten rule: working for free. No other field suffers the same stigma; we don’t expect our laywers, our handymen, or our child-minders to work without payment. So, why is it so often expected that we will?
Last year I reported on Pixsy a start-up which was aiming to tackle copyright infringement for photographers. It looked promising but after giving it a test run I was left a bit under whelmed. Copyright issues plague our industry and many folks are desperately seeking a solution. A new and totally free service, Blockai, might just be the closest thing we have right now.