In Seattle, Sculptor Sues Photog for "Side-Stepping" Copyright

Jack Mackie, sculpture, Dance Steps on Broadway, Seattle
Sculptor Jack Mackie's Dancers' Series: Steps (1982) can be found at eight locations along Broadway in Seattle. Each set covers approximately twelve square feet and shows steps for well-known dances like the tango, waltz, rumba and mambo. [Credit: Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs]
SEATTLE — The debate over a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by sculptor Jack Mackie against photographer Mike Hipple is heating up online

Mackie's Dance Steps on Broadway can be found at eight locations in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Hipple sold a picture of the public art steps to a stock photo agency for $60. Even though (at Hipple's request) the agency destroyed the photos after just a couple of days, Mackie says the sale of the photo infringed on his original copyright. He's decided to go forward with a $60,000 lawsuit against the photographer.

"Yes, anyone can make a photograph of my work. What they can not do is use my work for their profit without any contact with me...," Mackie told The Seattlest. "A critic can use a piece of a film being reviewed as fair use...If a movie maker used that same piece of film (without gaining a use agreement) in a movie they made (and claimed copyright to) is that fair use? No. It is copyright infringement," he explained.

Hipple says a "large majority" of Mackie's steps were "out of focus" in the photo. He believes his work is covered under the fair use provision of copyright law.

But according to Mackie, "This is not an inadvertent snapshot of a shoe on a sidewalk. This is a staged photograph. It's about three feet from the copyright notice. I find it unfortunate that he's brought this online - he can stop this whenever he wants."

More on this story, courtesy of KOMO News:


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