AquaLung Album Art
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I’m sorry to say it t but the old man wouldn’t give two figs about it if it wasn’t valuable

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19 hours ago, Bronty said:

I’m sorry to say it t but the old man wouldn’t give two figs about it if it wasn’t valuable

Agreed

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So you have some artwork you could care less about and don't exactly recall what happened to it. 

Where is that thing? Who knows? Who cares?

NOW it is valuable. Ohh yeah it was in storage and someone stole it. So if it ever turns up it is mine. 

One of these days an honest collector is going to catch the bad end of one of these stories. 

 

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I think I read a different article based on some of these response.

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Posted (edited)

The point Adam is making is that some artists’ stories change when things get valuable.     If you strip away the fact that the work became famous (primarily because of the music, btw, not because of the painting) the artist looked at it as what it was.   A quick payday with no expectation of any enduring rights.    THEN it becomes famous and now he wants enduring rights and claims ownership?    

It may feel good to always support the artist but they simply aren’t always in the right.    Adam and I having bought many illustration works direct from artists rather than on the secondary market it’s particularly troubling for us.

I get that he feels badly about the situation because he never had any idea it would become a landmark work and he wishes he had struck a different deal (or any written deal at all).    But subsequent regret on Tuesday doesn’t change the deal you made on Monday.   That’s where I can respect the heck out of someone like ditko because IIRC he has in articles stated precisely that the work he did was work for hire.    He’s owned up completely to the deal he struck and his perception of the deal he struck hasn’t changed despite the success of the property.

Edited by Bronty

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While I understand your rationale, I believe the discussion surrounding this situation is being taken completely out of context. The artwork was used as an album cover. Handshake or written agreement, I see it as the same thing as buying OA for aesthetic reasons, with the understanding that I don't own the image or copyright. Just because I own a cover, splash page or interior artwork that was published, doesn't make it right for me to start making fridge magnets, mousepads, t-shirts, or even to start benefitting commercially from the work.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, comicwiz said:

While I understand your rationale, I believe the discussion surrounding this situation is being taken completely out of context. The artwork was used as an album cover. Handshake or written agreement, I see it as the same thing as buying OA for aesthetic reasons, with the understanding that I don't own the image or copyright. Just because I own a cover, splash page or interior artwork that was published, doesn't make it right for me to start making fridge magnets, mousepads, t-shirts, or even to start benefitting commercially from the work.

Okay, I understand your process too but I don't agree.   If I am marvel (Jethro Tull) and you are Herb Trimpe (the artist in question), dam right I can make Hulk 181 (aqualung) fridge magnets.    I hired you to create art to promote my band, and I'm going to use it to promote my band.    I retain the copyright, not you.   

Its not like Aqualung is the only time this issue has arisen.   Any artist that ever illustrated any movie poster, VHS tape, album cover, video game, lunchbox, whatever.    The reproduction rights stayed with the commissioning company in all cases.   Why should Aqualung be any different?  

That's what work for hire is.    If you wouldn't have agreed to those terms, I wouldn't have hired you!    No one would risk their IP rights by hiring someone that didn't agree to those terms.

If you read the article, IIRC it says Ian was choked about the artist's line of questioning.    Yeah, I'd be choked too if I paid an artist for an image and 30 years later he comes looking for a second payday.   That wasn't the agreement.

The only rights the artist might reasonably have had was to get the original back.   That didn't happen, mostly because he probably didn't give ONE CRAPOLA about the return of the original.   Oh but now that its valuable, he does... well... 30 years too late I'm sorry to say.    30 years ago, I was 12  years old.   If anybody asked me to return something today that I had in my possession when I was 12, with no prior communication on the issue... I'd probably have a one-fingered response for them.   It just isn't reasonable to ask someone else to track your property for you (if it was his property at all - unclear who the original was supposed to stay with) for half a lifetime.   I've met illustrators that obsessively ensured the return of every piece, and others that were laissez faire.    Guess which type got their art back, and which didn't?   I know its unfortunate in that he would love the piece back, but the time to get it back (if its yours) is in 1970, not now.   But that's the side discussion.    The rights to produce mugs, t-shirts, toilet paper with that image belong to the band and they always did.   

Edited by Bronty

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Posted (edited)

I think the article does a decent job of highlighting the past issues, and disinterest in tackling this issue legally. That doesn't change the fact that the artist should have a say on how the work is used beyond his original agreement. A contract might not exist, and that is likely the biggest barrier to be able to define how the artists should have been compensated after it was used as an album cover.

But just because a contract doesn't exist doesn't make him less right.

I've loaned people money with no expectation to get the money returned to me. I was told numerous times that I was exposing myself to risk by not having a contract or written agreement, and I didn't lose sleep over the money that wasn't returned to me because they were friends or family members in need. And while not having a contract in such a situation might not make it easy to define how long and how much money ought to have been returned in the case of a loan repayment gone wrong, it doesn't change the fact that I was wronged when money wasn't returned as agreed upon.

I don't know the ownership rights like someone that deals with this professionally or on a daily basis, and there might be a statue of limitations or a time period which restrict appropriate recourse or remedies (i.e. 90 years for copyright of written works, etc.).

The thing that bothers me most from the article is the band members attitude. He is quoted badmouthing the work several times, but that hasn't stopped him from selling t-shirts depicting the image, and continuing to profit from it. The thing that irks me most is his insistence that the rendering of the person on the cover was him, and accordingly the artist could not claim copyright.

The article even claims he describes a photo shoot to prove it was him, which never happened. I could be completely wrong, but this sounds like someone that sought advice and has been coached on how to fend off ownership claims, because his insistence in thinking that's him on the cover is otherwise so ridiculous, that there's no other reason except to use it as a way to usurp those rights in a similar way celebrities did during the dot com craze, when people were squatting their domain names. The image of the artist juxtaposed with the album art clearly shows the artist used his own face for the man on the album cover.

Ultimately, this reads like a tale of a creator rights underdog who got left out in the cold by a band that continues to tout themselves as legends. They could have handled this situation better to continue that legacy. To my ears, they're nobodies, and after reading this, should deservedly be forgotten.

Edited by comicwiz

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Posted (edited)

I don’t see the relevance of any of that beyond pushing the emotional buttons.   He was hired to paint a picture .   He did.   Industry norm was that the reproduction rights stay squarely with the band.  

What else is there to say?   It does not matter one iota whose likeness it is, or whatever.   They paid him for a job.   The job was done 48 years ago.   He was happy with the payment and they were happy with the services.    In the absence of an arrangement that would have been outside the norm, they are 110% within their rights to use the image anywhere they see fit.   They paid him good money for the rights to do that.

in my view, he has zero right to demand or expect anything further whatsoever.    If I design a car for Chevrolet for a fixed price, and it ends up being a huge success, what right do I have to ask more than payment of my invoices (or salary) in full?   Zero.   After all, if the car was a flop, would I give them a refund?

Would the artist in question, if the band had been a huge failure, have given his fee back?   I don’t think so!   So what right does have to more when the band is a success?  None.     It was a fixed price service.

Edited by Bronty

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Using the example of a character belonging to Marvel, and the artist using himself in the rendering of a painting, are two completely different things.

It's easy to resign to emotional button pushing when it isn't impacting your livelihood, and this is very relevent as a lot of these kinds of dodgy deals are still being done to this day.

SONY ran a "contest", and my nieces submission was chosen, however it required her to hand over the rights to SONY. She retained the master files, but the print is in the SONY museum in L.A. She was happy, I wasn't going to spoil her excitement by telling her about all these dirty tactics used by industry to screw over creators.

I'm not saying this because she's my niece, but the image is incredible, and while she has that experience under her belt, hopefully this won't be a situation where her work is seen as a freebie for a large corporate entity to commercially gain from the work int he future without her ever seeing a cent.

I guess I see my collecting experience as an immersive one. Celebrating art is just as much about appreciating the art as it is about the artists, so relegating them as being feeble minded in protecting their rights doesn't sit well when the industry continues to operate in a manner where people have to "pay their dues."

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Posted (edited)

I don't think we are ever going to see eye to eye on that, but that's okay.    You're making a moral argument instead of a logical one, that's fine, but IMO as another boardie once eloquently said, the applying of today's thinking to yesterday's reality is immoral itself and that makes any moral argument fall apart.    A claim today is revisionist history because in 1970 both sides would have told you that the band had the rights.

You want the arrangement to be "fair" today, and I want both sides to live up to what they agreed to on the day they agreed to it or else commerce becomes chaos.

I get your position and I'm sure you get mine.   all good.

Edited by Bronty

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How many times I've heard this story from illustrators over the last 40 years.

But only when a painting became iconic or valuable down the road.

That's how it was back then. Handshake deals, shady contracts, work for hire. 

Doesn't matter what the artist wants. He is certainly not going to get any more than what he was paid unless written in a contract. Should he get compensation almost 50 years later for ancillary rights? That's up for debate. But rarely did it ever happen back then, unless the artist's agent was savvy enough to foresee the future.

Silverman had nothing but contempt for the painting, until it was famous. Certainly not going to get compensation now. Maybe a few years after he did the painting.

Like I said, the road is littered with stories of "wronged" artists.

M

 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah.    What they want is a time machine to change what they agreed to (but only if it would benefit them).    Well I want a time machine too!

Edited by Bronty

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I need a time machine too!

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1 hour ago, comicwiz said:

The image of the artist juxtaposed with the album art clearly shows the artist used his own face for the man on the album cover.

I think so as well, but reading the article it appears that the artist's son (who is the author) never brought this fact to anyone's attention. He says he stopped short of telling Ian Anderson and my reading is that he never told the other people either. He says something like "they don't want to hear it" and puts it down to mercenary attitudes and indifference when apparently they don't even know of this part of the artist's claim and haven't had the chance to dismiss or accept it.

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Posted (edited)

Who cares if it’s his likeness or that if mother teresa’s?   I don’t care if it’s a picture of the artists azzcheeks.   ;) The reproduction rights belonged to the band irrespective of whose face it was

Edited by Bronty

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3 minutes ago, Bird said:

I think so as well, but reading the article it appears that the artist's son (who is the author) never brought this fact to anyone's attention. He says he stopped short of telling Ian Anderson and my reading is that he never told the other people either. He says something like "they don't want to hear it" and puts it down to mercenary attitudes and indifference when apparently they don't even know of this part of the artist's claim and haven't had the chance to dismiss or accept it.

I got the impression this was something he had been chasing down and had intended to let the band member know at the arranged meeting, but then the meeting was unexpectedly cancelled.

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Posted (edited)

FYI in case you don’t know  illustrators painted themselves into works for hire all the time.    All the time.   No cheaper models than you, your kids, friends, and neighbors.    In no way is that a unique aspect to this case

Edited by Bronty

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2 minutes ago, comicwiz said:

I got the impression this was something he had been chasing down and had intended to let the band member know at the arranged meeting, but then the meeting was unexpectedly cancelled.

Yes, I think so. But he had previously spoken with him directly (I think) as well. In any event, the article seems to be the first public mention of the likeness as far as I could see.

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