Pete Turner and the Collage - Robert Rauschenberg

Dangerous Collage

"Through his art we experience the liberation of the real in its fragmented reduction to image. Shards of the commonplace world float free of the gravitational pull of the real"

Robert Raushenberg is an American fine artist known for his found-object collage works. He is credited as one of the artists responsible for introducing simple, everyday objects into the space of American painting. His works have included old photos, pieces of scrap, pages torn from magazines, and any order of discarded societal detritus.

One particular work includes a page torn from an old issue of Time magazine. The page in question contains an ad for an automobile, which is principally comprised of a photograph, and which photograph was taken by a commercial photographer. The photographer, Pete Turner, successfully sued Raushenberg for unauthorized use of the photograph.

Incidentally Prominent

The magic hand in the above representative work of Raushenberg is pointing to a piece of discarded societal detritus, in this case an ad for hair relaxing products. In each of these cases, does it matter that the discarded societal detritus is not an essential piece of the work? In either case, any piece of discarded societal detritus would probably work as well as any other piece of discarded societal detritus. It may be helpful to analogize collages with movies. As seen in the Batman case, copyrighted works that appear incidentally in movies are not actionable infringements, whereas works that are displayed more prominently may constitute an actionable infringement.