An artist has some Instagram users up in arms over what they did with their images. Richard Prince, an artist, screengrabbed posts people made on Instagram, turned them into prints, and put them on display in the Frieze Gallery in NYC. Some of the prints have sold for around $90,000.
The outraged people are mostly professionals who work in the creative industry, but for people outside of the industry the reaction has been much less muted. Some were even flattered that their images were used even though Prince is making money off of the prints.
Part of this may be because social media encourages us to share images about our lives all the time. People don’t know that as soon as they take a photo they own the copyright to that photo, but these networks allow a picture to spread so fast that it can become very difficult to discover who took the photo first.
Currently there are no lawsuits that we’re aware of against Mr. Prince, but this could set a worrisome precedent in the art world. What is to stop other artists from doing the same thing? It is quite clear that people need to be better educated on the intellectual property they generate over the course of their lives. Just because they aren’t a business making money off of it doesn’t mean that someone else might do it for you and cut you out of the profits.
If you would like to learn more about IP protections, take a look through our IP FAQ located on our website.