This is the email we received two weeks ago from the Manager of Intellectual Property for the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein:
“Dear Elsinore Music,
You have adapted a Roy Lichtenstein image for the cover of your new album. This is a copyright violation. Please contact me.
Manager of Intellectual Property
Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
745 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014
T (212) 255-4570 x105
F (212) 727-3138
“The painting we are using for our album cover was done by Brittany Pyle in a college painting course. She told us initially that it was a piece influenced by Pop art, but didn’t mention anything about her source image. After we received the email from Shelley Lee I talked to Brittany again and she told me that she hadn’t appropriated from Lichtenstein. Her professor had instructed the class to do an appropriation piece, and Brittany chose the same original graphic novel piece that Roy Lichtenstein used when he created his piece Kiss V:
Here is the graphic novel piece both artists used as source material(left) presented next to Lichtenstein’s piece(right):
Finally, here is Brittany’s piece:
So, the question is do we not use Brittany’s painting, the piece that 18 months of design work have been crafted around, because the Manager of Intellectual Property of a famous Pop artist who also appropriated from the same source image says we can’t? Brittany’s painting certainly appears to be an appropriation of the uncopyrighted(?) graphic novel piece as opposed to an “adapted…Roy Lichtenstein image” as Ms. Lee has stated. We haven’t pressed the album yet, so we just need to know whether or not we CAN use the image based on its appropriative properties. What IS the answer here??????
Here are some links that have helped us gather this information and/or put wind in our sails: