Alec Soth vs. Little Brown and Co.

In general, I’m fairly lenient on appropriation.  After all, no one works in a vacuum and it’s impossible to have a completely original idea anymore.  But my tolerance dissipates when the act of drawing inspiration from a source becomes flat out plagiarism.  The most recent example of this in the art world is the blatant stealing of Alec Soth’s photograph Peter’s Houseboat for the Winter’s Bone book cover.  Apparently the publisher (Little Brown and Co.) asked Soth for the rights to the image, but he said no when they wanted to Photoshop in the girl.  Unsatisfied, the publisher decided to knock off the image anyway.  I feel for Soth who didn’t make a dime out of this, but mostly I'm embarrassed for Little Brown and Co.  With just a little creativity, they could have staged a new image that captures the “spirit” of Soth’s photograph instead of recreating a barefaced rip off.   

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