Copyright Beams: Protecting Artists Work on Social Media

KanyeBy Alex Bullock

When Kanye West announced the development of his seventh studio album in March of 2015 (what would eventually become The Life of Pablo, released earlier this year) Nick Stokes and Eric Swanson, two Portland-based artists and Kanye fans, were inspired to make something to commemorate the occasion. The result was What ‘Ye Is It?, a custom-animated calendar that features a looping animation for each day of the week, inspired by West’s collection of works. After its creation, various media outlets linked to Stokes’ and Swanson’s website (for a list of the coverage, see here).

Fast forward to June 8 of this year: Finish Line, the athletic shoe and apparel retailer, posted the animation to their Instagram account in honor of West’s 39th birthday. However, the post credited music and lifestyle magazine The FADER for the work. The FADER posted about Stokes’ and Swanson’s work on May 14, 2015, but it is not the author of the work. Even after being notified by the authors of their mistaken attribution and their unauthorized use of the work, Finish Line has not made any effort to resolve the issue.

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