Excuse Me While I Sue This Guy

Google finds itself in an interesting copyright infringement lawsuit that involves a new age “artist, rock legend Jimi Hendrix and jazz great John Coltrane. What it may not involve is, you know, copyright infringement. The plaintiff is the estate of Jim Marshall, a photographer who shot photos of music legends throughout his career. Thierry Guetta is an “artist” who works in the field of “appropriation art.” That is, he takes images, photocopies them, and adds stuff to them. Thierry lost a suit last year to Mr. Marshal’s estate over an image of Run DMC, that he, um, appropriated. This case involves a new work of “art” (I can’t seem to help using the quotation marks. If we were talking about this, I’d be making the gesture with my hands). It features blown up images of Hendrix and Coltrane. Google, who apparently had nothing to do with creating the “art”, is being sued for allegedly using it as a backdrop for the release of its Google Music service. According to the complaint, Google apparently had copies of the work displayed at an event rolling out the music service, and invited news media to take photos, which would include photos of the art. So if I read it correctly, Google is being sued for having a party. And not confiscating cameras. We’ll see how this works out.