Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fair and square

Looking at the cover of Instant! Maori, a book by Nick Theobald and Paaora Walker and published by Wadsworth Books, you can get an idea of how blurred copyright is becoming in the visual arts. Who owns what here? Inside this handy phrase book Foodstuffs are thanked for letting the authors use the Mr Four Square icon, but Dick Frizzell, surely the inspiration behind this mash-up, gets no mention. And have Foodstuffs unwittingly let loose the hounds of appropriation by giving this revisionist version of their logo a big tick? Frizzell probably still waits for the phone call from the lawyers of those notorious copyright protectors, the Disney Corporation. We remember there was a playground (or was it a toilet block?) in New Zealand that was forced to remove a Disney-like mural some years ago. Over the years Disney has successfully extended the time limit on their copyright protection in what is often known as Sonny Bono’s Mickey Mouse Law. That pushed items who's copyright lapsed in 1998 out to 2019. Our Mr Four Square obviously thinks he can mix it with whoever comes along. Good on him.