Madonna is being sued by the son of Guy Bourdin over similarities between her recent “Hollywood” video and photos taken by Bourdin, a Parisian fashion photographer who died in 1991, according to The Smoking Gun.
Are the allegations true? Judge for yourself with screen captures from the video next to the photos that they most closely resemble, posted by a site dedicated to the photographer.
While many worry that the Internet creates a fertile ground for appropriating the creative output of artists, this situation demonstrates how the Internet can make clear the relationships between derivative work and inspiration, putting the work of a relative unknown on the same page as that of a global superstar and letting the public be the judge.
Whether the case is settled, dismissed or goes to jury, Madonna’s video and Bourdin’s work can now be analyzed by any casual surfer in a way that simply wasn’t possible 10 years ago, and that’s a victory for anyone who creates new or derivative works.
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