Putting the clamps on The Gates
Although The Gates have been a huge hit, photographers and artists are up in arms over a sweeping rule its creators, Jeanne-Claude and Christo, have been claiming they have a right to enforce to keep people from selling any images of it.
According to Robert Lederman, president of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists Response to Illegal State Tactics), on Feb. 17 a representative of Christos German publisher informed street artists, photographers and art vendors around Central Park they would be subject to arrest for selling any images of The Gates. Lederman said he got the phone number of this person, a Dr. Fils, and had a lengthy talk with him.
Christos publisher claims a vast new degree of copyright and trademark protection, Lederman said. They claim they will prosecute anyone who sells their own original photos of The Gates, who makes and sells a drawing of The Gates or who even uses the words The Gates without their permission. They claim to have copyrighted the words The Gates. They also claim to have an agreement with the media that media sources may only use news photos of The Gates for the period the installation is up that after that the media will only be allowed to use official photos of The Gates.
On Feb. 20, Newsday reported Jeanne-Claude lectured [a Newsday] photographer not to reproduce images of The Gates for profit, as some hawkers in the park have done, sternly warning that pictures of the artwork are trademarked and cant be sold. Their official photographer then inadvertently stepped on the Newsday photographers foot. Jeanne-Claude later said she had felt stormed.
Suppose someone who wasnt trying to photograph The Gates but couldnt avoid it, then sold the photo? That was the dilemma Villager photographer Bob Arihood investigated as he photographed a boulder, statues of a mountain lion and musician Victor Herbert and other sights in Central Park last weekend, seemingly unable to find a single spot where the sprawling art project with7,500 saffron flags on 23 miles of park paths wasnt in the frame. Arihood says hes not sure yet but he may sell the photos.
The New York Post recently reported that Christo and Jeanne-Claudes lawyer said that while they feel they are within their rights to prohibit people from selling unauthorized images of The Gates, they wont take legal action against anyone who does.