Weekend Humor: Man Claims Fair Use Defense in Copyright Lawsuit

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Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

John Robinson, a NYC-based photographer, immediately knew something was wrong when he went gallery hopping Thursday night. There was a photo exhibition, and all of the images looked fairly familiar. Upon closer inspection, these images were Robinson’s, only they were turned upside down. Robinson immediately called his lawyer and subsequently filed suit against Dan Thompson, the man who turned everything upside down.

Thompson is a graphic designer based in New York City, and he puts together ad campaigns that are heavily influenced by contemporary brands. In between jobs, he prints photographs he likes off the internet on his home printer. Thompson was immediately taken with Robinson’s photos, and saw fit to give them new life.

“Turning them upside down really forces you to change your perspective,” Thompson told us over the phone. “Listen, I get that he’s mad and everything, but these photos are way more successful than they ever will be.”

Thompson claimed that his topsy-turvy reimagining constitutes fair use, which is that murky middle-ground of copyright law. The boundaries for fair use are blurred at best, but Thompson is undeterred. Robinson is going after Thompson with as much legal assistance as he can afford.

“These idiots think they can just take something, add a bit of flair, spin it around and claim it’s new,” Robinson said. “It’s absolute goddam nonsense. This Thompson a*****e hasn’t had an original thought in his entire life, and I’ll kick his head in if he thinks he can capitalize on my work. What the hell does turning a cat photo upside down really do anyway?”

This isn’t the first time Thompson’s been pegged for copyright infringement. He was flatly rejected by a panel at the Guggenheim when he tried to submit 32 individual cans of Campbell’s soup to a sculpture competition.

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