Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Much less gut-wrenching: images of college football players

"Image Rights vs. Free Speech in Video Game Suit"


Here what's arguably being stolen is not a material piece of the body, but rather the image of the body.  The right of publicity (the right to control how one's image is used) butts up against the right of free speech.  On the one hand there's the sense that a picture of me -- and particularly a video of me -- is somehow mine.  The image of my physical form is intrinsically connected to me.  An image of me could not exist if my physical form did  not exist.  On the other hand, all new creative efforts start somewhere, and sometimes they start with an image (perhaps a fleeting memory, perhaps a paid model, perhaps a verbal description).  Could anyone ever create without somehow appropriating an image?  If a model is paid or has volunteered to let her form be copied, that's not a problem.  But what about the case of the uncompensated transformation of the image of a living body into a still recognizable digital avatar?  How much transformation of an image renders it a new creation, unconnected to the original body?

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