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One of David Phillips's frog sculptures at the Tadpole Playground on Boston Common. (Greg Cook)
One of David Phillips’s frog sculptures at the Tadpole Playground on Boston Common. (Greg Cook)

Can artists making work for a public park still claim copyright control over the use of their public images?

Artist David Phillips, who has a studio in Medford, Massachusetts, is suing Macy’s for reproducing his frog sculptures from Boston Common in the¬†Christmas window display of its downtown Boston shop, according to Universal Hub.

Artists have been increasingly making this claim while working in the public sphere. It gets into a sticky area–artists are trying to protect creative rights that are often trampled on, but what about the public’s rights to common lands? Over the past decade or so, governments themselves have also been trying to restrict photography on public lands. Chicago tried to require¬†permits for photography in its public Millennium Park. Similarly the U.S. Forest service proposed requiring permits to photograph on public lands.

Categories: Art Public Art