Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not to Be Had at Any Price

As I've been finishing up getting rights and permissions for all the images that might appear in the forthcoming Virtualpolitik book, which is slated to be out in Spring 2009 from MIT Press, I decided to inquire about the costs involved in reproducing two covers from TIME magazine. Because the covers are so much an iconic part of their brand identitiy, I knew that this intellectual property might be pricey, so I wasn't that surprised when I was told that this cover of its 2002 Persons of the Year about The Whistleblowers would cost over six hundred dollars a year for reproduction rights. The image wasn't that essential to my argument about the media and channels that whistleblowers choose in the age of e-mail, online video, wikis, and blogs. In the chapter that covers political Photoshop, including several "blackface" and "burqa" incidents of political photoshop, I had also hoped to show the controversial intentionally darkened "American Tragedy" cover of OJ Simpson, which I juxtapose with Tibor Kalman's intentionally Africanized portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. A representative of the magazine told me, however, that the "cover is restricted and permissions to use are not available under any circumstances."

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