On the Rights of Molotov Man Response

I do not yet know exactly where I stand on the issue of copyrights when it comes to adaptations, remixes, and the like. While reading this, I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with both of the sides presented.¬†On one hand, there is a multitude of art that is inspired or created from another piece of art. These can easily evolve and grow into their own, and inspire even more new pieces. On the other hand, this takes away ownership of the original piece to the original artist. In the case of the Molotov Man, it seems that Susan, the original photographer, had her photo stolen from her in several different ways. Some, to create new art, and others, to sell products or advertise or stand for something different than the original intentions. In many of these cases, it seems she is not given credit. In fact, the painter, Joy, wasn’t even aware of the original source of the photograph when she first found it.

I feel that to support remixes, recreations, etc., one must believe that art belongs to the public, rather than a sole artist. However, economically, if an artist doesn’t have ownership over their work, they can’t sustain themselves on art alone. The economic problem likely doesn’t bother bigger artists, but for smaller, independent artists, it can steer them away from art as a career. It also brings to issue on where the line is drawn between a recreation of art, and the production of a new piece of art based on a previous one. Susan believed some of the recreations took away the context of the original, and changed the meaning. Does changing the meaning make it a new piece of art? Or does it detract from the original? If a recreation gets more attention than the original, is it better?

I feel like the complexity of copyright laws reflect the grey area that is creative reproduction of art. There is a legal way to reproduce art, and an illegal way. However, even then, sometimes producers will choose to risk a lawsuit rather than to go about the legal ways to include someone else’s work in their own. This ongoing, open ended debate, seems to hurt artists either way, one in that an artist can lose credit for their work, and another, in that artists whose focus is remixes don’t get the credit they deserve, or they face endless legal troubles.


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