Oops they did it again! It’s 2000, everybody’s scared of Y2K, and Google’s all dressed up like a sexually provocative over-tanned schoolgirl!! Nah, j/k guys, I’m talking about Google getting sued for copyright infringement. That’s what’s happening again. It’s definitely not that other stuff. But this time, Billboard reports, the case has a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ different going on. This time the lawyers are all up in arms about the company’s Google Music service, which launched in late 2011 and tiptoed out onto some shifting legal sands when it showcased artwork by Thiery “Mr. Brainwash” Guetta, who appropriated photos of Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane to make a newer, Googlier, more sueable piece of art.
If you saw the Banksy doc Exit Through the Gift Shop, you might recognize Guetta as a practitioner of “appropriation art,” in which photocopied images of another’s work get the “yo, I made this a different color” or “hey I stuck some more things in this picture of this one thing” treatment. And now Guetta has raised the ire of the estate of influential rock photog Jim Marshall by using his images of Hendrix and Coltrane. And since Google Music used Guetta’s art as a backdrop to announce their new service last year and allowed others to photograph said backdrop, thereby getting those images all up over the internet, the suits are pissed. The Marshall estate says all they want is to put a stop to willful copyright infringement and get their rightful profits back. It’s a tale as old as time, people; if we’ve learned nothing from late-90s anorexic shitfest Ally McBeal it’s that lawyers, music, and art… they do not mix.
• Google Music: https://play.google.com/music