Doggy “Che” Greeting Card: A Crime Or a Parody?

The London Mail reports that a greeting card designer has been sued for distributing a card showing a dog dressed up to look like Che Guevara in the iconic image by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda.

According to the newspaper, Korda’s daughter filed a copyright infringement claim in France against Takkoda, a British greeting card company owned by designer Kate Polyblank. Polyblank’s husband reportedly shot an image of a neighbor’s dog for the Takkoda greeting card.

The Che Guevara photograph, popular among students around the world as an iconic image of revolution, has appeared on millions of posters and t-shirts since Korda shot it in 1960. The photographer, whose real name was Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, died in 2001.

While we await word from the French courts on this claim, you be the judge. Is this illegal copyright infringement, or fair use?

14 Responses to “Doggy “Che” Greeting Card: A Crime Or a Parody?”

  1. patrick Says:

    So ironic considering Guevara’s politics — capitalists battling over use of his image.

  2. Brandi Says:

    I’d say the differences are enough to call it parody. It’d be a different argument if Takkoda had taken the original photo (which was in b&w) and turned it purple – but this is a dog, in color, in a studio. To call this copyright infringement would be a bit ridiculous. It basically means that if someone takes a picture of someone in a wig, heaven forbid if someone else gets their picture taken in that same wig!

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  4. Kevin Says:

    Neither. You can’t copyright broad “looks”, even recognizable ones. Unless it turns out that Korda’s actual photograph was used in the creation of the card, this remains a cheesy, uncreative rip-off, but a perfectly legal one.

    And that all assumes that you’re applying U.S. copyright law. I have no idea if an image made in Cuba, by a Cuban, of an Argentine has any bearing on a greeting card sold in the U.K.

  5. mike Says:

    What about defamation of charactor? Why did they choose a white dog? Why did his daughter ligitimize this by calling attention to it?

  6. David W. Sumner Says:

    This is ridiculous! It’s a dog, a beret and a silly wig. It’s not even a very good photograph. Of course it’s a parody! Why does this kind of thing generate any sort of commentary?

  7. Rich A Says:

    I think it’s very disrespectful using a dogs image in place of Che Guevara. He was making history (for better or worse). How is Polyblank’s greeting card company changing the world (beside creating horrible design with bad art direction). Hope the revolution shows up at there door step.

  8. Amorteguy Says:

    An obvious parody of (arguably) the most copyright-infringed image in history. Fair use without a doubt.

  9. Jessica Says:

    Parody/satire is protected under fair use. I recall Gutierrez’ daughter has filed numerous suits — the image is everywhere.

  10. Lisa K Says:

    This dishonors both man and dog. There’s an entire book about the photo, one of the most reproduced in the world – Che’s Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image.

  11. Lainey Says:

    This is a ridiculous lawsuit. It’s obviously a parody.

  12. Lainey Says:

    I think the judge should throw it out of court and fine the jerk who decided to file this.

  13. Harry T Says:

    Sad to see some of the answers.
    This is of course an Infringement case, doesn’t matter where the photographer, the copyright owner or the subject initially is from and what personal views of politics they have.
    Copyright is of an international concern, where nobody should be excluded from on either side.
    I consider the design is actually not a parody, since I imagine they make money with selling that card!?
    I look forward seeing your reactions when it comes to your illegally used imagery, but..of course, I’ve forgot, you don’t care.

  14. Thomas Says:

    hi,

    I think as “art” it might be ok, because you can see it as a honour when you get copied.

    The problem arises with the postcard company and the commercial use of the “parody”.

    Besides i dont know to much about US rights, being not of the states.

    Yes the pic is an icon (whatever this means), but why not iconize it with paraody, irony, … in art !, if the rights are not misused and commercialized , just as food for thought.

    Thomas Wilden
    Photo-Journalist
    Germany