Reports the Sydney Morning Herald:
Art dealer David Hulme found it hard to spot the differences when he received a promotional email from art dealer Saatchi Online.
The price of the Hospodarsky painting is $1200 - a print costs $20.
Mr Hulme said the image was an ''iconic photographic image''. ''I compared the two and it's obvious that it's a copy,'' he said. ''The main problem is the way it is being proliferated to such a substantial amount of people around the world.'' He rated the work as ''quite an amateurish representation of Petrina's very highly professional work'' and said it could damage the artist ''because it is not of anywhere near the same quality''.
When The Sunday Age contacted the Stills Gallery in Paddington, Sydney, which represents Hicks, it was not long before a second painting by the artist was discovered on the Saatchi website that also looked familiar. Hicks accused Hospodarsky of ''directly'' ripping off another of her images. "I can also recognise the works of other well-known artists in his paintings; his work is 100 per cent derivative,'' she said.Looking to our favourite recent UK Red Bus case, there it was held that it is possible to infringe copyright in a photograph by recreating a scene that had been photographed, when the skill and labour of the author (his intellectual creation) went into creating the scene that was photographed in the first place. The judge found that the common elements between the defendants' work and the claimant's work were causally related, in other words, that they had been copied, and, on a qualitative assessment of the reproduced elements, those elements were a substantial part of the claimant's work. Therefore, there was copyright infringement of the original work.
Applying the decision to the facts of this situation, upon a very basic visual appraisal (of my own), it does seem that the Hospodarsky painting reproduces the key visual elements of the Hicks painting. I would be interested to know our readers' views on the matter. Would you consider that Hospodarsky's painting reproduces a substantial part of the Hicks image so as to amount to copyright infringement? Or is Hospodarsky's painting his own intellectual creation.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 2012