Jun 23, 2011

Something Borrowed, Something Bloop

Read this really interesting, disheartening story today. Apparently Waxy's Andy Baio made an 8-bit tribute album to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue entitled Kind of Bloop. So far so good. The album cover was a pixelated version of the original album cover. So Jay Maisel, the photographer who shot the picture used on the original cover, sued Baio. Eventually, Baio settled for $32,500—not, he points out, because he thinks his use of the highly stylized 8-bit version of the original image was anything other than fair use, but because the term is so legally ambiguous. As disappointing as this is, Baio says that settling was simply the least expensive option.

Me, personally, I think this is a shitty solution. Not that Baio had any other reasonable option. I just have a hard time seeing how his album cover, which clearly draws on but does not exactly reproduce the source material, is anything other than an example of fair use.

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