Art Fag City’s Cease and Desist

Those with a blog or website should be interested in the discussion over at Art Fag City where the estate of Helmut Newton has sent Paddy Johnson a cease and desist letter. She posted a nude Naomi Campbell photo by the fashion/erotic photographer Helmut Newton when she mentioned a Naomi Campbell retrospective at the upcoming Art Basel Miami in 08.

I don’t believe that the Internet should be a lawless free for all, but what kind of business threatens legal action for receiving free publicity?! The image used is a low resolution jpg file that has zero commercial value and was used to promote an upcoming event, so I’m still trying to figure out how the estate of Helmut Newton has a problem with it.

The law firm and Helmut Newton estate are either really smart or complete idiots. Perhaps they realise that bloggers have big mouths and they will gain much more publicity by creating a controversy in the blogosphere. Or maybe they just don’t get the Internet. Either way, I won’t be mentioning any Helmut Newton exhibitions or auctions anytime soon.

Read the cease and desist letter and the ongoing discussion here.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Donald Frazell says:

    How about mentioning god once a week? That seems to get more interest than legal fine print, and manipulation. Still gets to ones heart, whether one wants to admit it or not. I was just getting warmed up, but having to repeat myself to those who can only think in straight lines is tiring, and gets redundant. Some just cant see more than one step at a time, bad chess players.

    The legal system always a game of chess however, but may not be playing the game that is seems. You are probably right about getting the free publicity. 90% of actions never go to court, settled out of, and usually meant to. Sometimes an opening move, sometimes a feine for something else entirely.

    Got more evidence for my case against academia and art, they just dont go together.

    Art collegia delenda est

  2. Like Donald I also posted a longer comment over at Art Fag City.

    As an artist and blogger, I personally have two policies regarding jpgs. If someone swipes an jpg of my art and cites me as the creator, I allow it. If I learn about it , I often email a note of thanks.

    For my own blog at, when I cover art news and reviews, I always have permission or I will not use the jpg. I am hardly ever refused, but that may be because it is I known that I only give good mentions, or I don’t write about the artist or show.

    Judy Rey

  3. seems to me they have taken a very draconian attitude in regards to the use of the image on art fag. I hope they realize that it was actually a form of free advertizing by a blogger.

  4. You would love that But you would never get any work done, so I better keep the religion/god posts to a minimum ;-)

    I think there should be a list of artists and organizations that don’t like free publicity and/or are scared of the internet, and they should never be mentioned or promoted! Make them pay if they want publicity.

    I never ask if I can use an image on Art News Blog, but would be quite happy to remove any that offend the artist. You would have to be a complete idiot to knock back free advertising though.

    I take legal letters personally too, so I would never mention the artist/organization again.. or at least not in a positive manner. I know it’s petty, but we all have our weaknesses.

    Judy, I think most artists are thankful. It just makes sense.

    The law firm must have a set amount of hours to fill each month for the Helmut Newton estate and this their way of showing June Newton that they’re working.

  5. It is just crazy. Just so you know I’m still kicking. I need to get caught up with reading your blog. Just observed the Hirst pants.


  1. [...] than painters, but it’s a challenge that all artists have to deal with. Most of the copyright lawsuits seem to come from photographers and their estates, so maybe they just don’t like sharing as [...]

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