Thursday, November 16, 2006

More on SODRAC and copyright infringement


For a while now, SODRAC has been a personal whipping post of mine (one, two and three) and it looks like they are going to continue being one. Because this article from The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, just makes me see red, get spitting mad, and want to scream.

Basically according to the article, this artist down there, Eva Carter has had a bunch of her art copied and reproduced without her permission by Tony Pompa. His website ArttoCanvas.com basically promises to make some might-fine, fancy-ass, very expensive copies. For the most part it appears that the copies are more expensive than the originals.

Again according to the article, there is a quote from Mr. Pompa that goes as follows:
He sees nothing wrong with his products, even if they are made against the artist's wishes. He is not mass-producing duplicates; he's simply moving images he has paid for from one surface to another - a process allowed under Canadian law, he said.
So it would appear that SODRAC is content with the law as it is, and as far as I can tell is not doing anything to prevent Mr. Pompa from buying a poster and making a copy of it on canvas and then selling it for more than the original poster. However, they insist on telling people with auction houses and websites that they can't take a picture of a painting and put that in the catalogue or website.

It would appear to me then, that the appropriate thing for auction houses and websites in Canada to do in light of the bullying and attempts at extortion by SODRAC, is to sign and number each catalog that they print, and as Mr. Pompa puts it, state that they are not mass producing duplicates, simply moving images that they paid for from one surface to another - a process allowed under Canadian law.

Or perhaps the appropriate thing would be for Diane Lamarre (Manager of Visual Arts and Crafts Department) and Alain Lauzon (General Manager) of SODRAC to politely send one of their letters with an invoice to Mr. Pompa, I am assume that Ms. Carter would gladly accept to pay SODRAC 25% of what was owed her in order to get Mr. Pompa to stop copying her posters, because that is what SODRAC keeps from the fees that they collect on behalf of non-Canadian artists.

Whatever is the final result, I hope that there is a final result, because as it stands now, SODRAC does not appear to me to be anything more than a semi-governmental bunch of thugs trying to make as much money as possible through intimidation.

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