Joe Coleman, whose works are in celebrity collections and exhibited in galleries around the world, claims that the channel not only violated copyrights but also deliberately downplayed the artistic value of his work.
Artist Joe Coleman sues HBO for using the TV channel in the Beware the Slenderman documentary, which was released in early 2017. According to Coleman, the producers of the movie show his picture of 25 seconds in the last frames, but he was not asked for permission. In turn, representatives of HBO said that Coleman’s work is being shown on fair use basis. According to the publication Artnet News, this week, New York judge Margot Brody rejected the motion of HBO to dismiss the case, thereby allowing the start of the trial.
According to the artist, with such a gesture the HBO producers showed that his 2014 work ‘No One Can Enter the Lord’s House Except as a Child (Slenderman)’ is available for free, free online use, but this is not so. In his lawsuit, Coleman added that ‘the documentary incorrectly interprets the valuable picture and shows it as an example of Slenderman fan art’ — this way the TV channel downplays the value of the work. The artist claims from HBO compensation for copyright infringement (without specifying a certain amount) and the cessation of commercial screenings and the use of a documentary.
The HBO Beware the Slenderman documentary tells the story of two American schoolgirls who tried to kill their girlfriend in 2014 as a sacrifice to Slenderman, a fictional Internet monster and meme hero. The HBO states that since Joe Coleman painted his picture based on the character of memes (that is, the work of other people), then the channel can use Coleman’s work. Representatives of HBO added that the presence of an artist’s picture in a documentary falls within the concept of fair use, since the canvas is displayed on a computer screen. Such rhetoric did not convince the judge, and next month Coleman and representatives of the TV channel will meet in court.