Negative Space?: Homage to Jobs Stems Dispute

Negative Space?: Homage to Jobs Stems Dispute

Copyright claims to the Steve Job’s tribute image released soon after his death last week have gone almost as viral as the image itself.  The tribute image, a silhouette of Steve Jobs in place of the bite mark on Apple’s logo, has caused a bit of an uproar amongst independent designers and opportunists alike in the legal claims community.  So who are some of these proclaimed “internet sensations” and do they actually have any real claim to the image?

Jonathan Mak, a 19-year old Hong Kong graphic design student was one of the first to claim his name to fame soon after Jobs’ death last week.  Mak says that he came up with and released the image back in August when Jobs retired but that it didn’t get any attention until now.  He is now receiving job offers and questions about “buying copyright.”  “I feel so unreal,” says Mak, who publicly announced that he doesn’t claim to be the first person to come up with the image, but that he did not copy anyone else’s work.

Other claims from UK-based designer who goes by the identity of “Raid71” and California-based Farzin Adeli are two more of the big names buzzing around the controversy.  Many more names will soon join the mix with lawyers already working to get designers some kind of copyright claim to the image.  Whether or not any of these claims actually go through is up in the air.  Apple, who has an aggressive reputation on copyright, trade, and patent claims, could very well use the argument that the tribute image infringes on their existing trademark.

However, while Apple may trump these individual claims there has not been much indication of a decline in the publicity surrounding the story.  The copyright story has gathered a large group of followers including TechDirt blogger by the name of “Ninja” who expresses, “I do believe that quite a few individuals had the same idea. I mean come on, it’s simple and it’s obvious…”

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