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July 21, 2021 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Pornhub has just launched a museum guide for classical nudes [TimeOut] but then the Louvre Calls in Lawyers Over Pornhub’s Hardcore Re-Enactments [Daily Beast]

Yet the selection shows how the category of classical art predominantly features white bodies painted by white artists. To balance the overwhelmingly Eurocentric offerings that these museums offer, Classic Nudes also has a category called Another Perspective, which draws on a number of international collections to showcase artworks from India, Japan, China, and the Americas depicting non-white bodies. from Pornhub Launches a Museum Guide for Classical Nudes [ArtNews]

Pornhub’s “Classic Nudes” Is Making Art Museums Sexy [Inside Hook]
Not Safe For (Art) Work: Pornhub creates 'Classic Nudes' tours of museum collections [The Art Newspaper; archive]

CW: this is about nudes & Pornhub, all links probably NSFW.
posted by chavenet (37 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Daily Beast: Long before hairless strangers were streaming loveless sex to lonely device-wielders, European classic artists were painting scintillating scenes that were quite lewd even by today’s standards.

What is this garbage framing
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:06 AM on July 21 [23 favorites]


Side story related to the article: We got to see Botticelli's Venus in person at the art gallery in Italy. What a disappointment. The painting is displayed with a covering of what looks like a half inch of bluish bullet-proof glass. (I do not know what the covering actually is, this is just my takeaway from viewing it) The original is right there in front of your eyes, but the glass covering really detracts from the real colors and details.

I know they need to protect these works from vandals, but there's gotta be a better way.
posted by SoberHighland at 8:12 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]


Please check out my OnlyFans where I smoosh copies of L'Origine du monde and L'Origine de la guerre against each other for two and a half minutes before I collapse, completely spent
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:22 AM on July 21 [29 favorites]


fresher, sweeter, glistening, quivering, devourable ...... OnlyFlans
posted by lalochezia at 8:34 AM on July 21 [12 favorites]


What is this garbage framing

I'm pretty sure the answer's: Daily Beast editorial policy.
posted by Drastic at 8:42 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]




fresher, sweeter, glistening, quivering, devourable ...... OnlyFlans

I'm definitely stealing this to use as a tagline for a site dedicated to Lovecraftian erotica.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 8:51 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]


“Tawnee says what she does is Art, Sarge. And she wears more clothes than a lot of the women on the walls around here, so why be sniffy about it?”
“Yeah, but…” Fred Colon hesitated here. He knew in his heart that spinning upside down around a pole wearing a costume you could floss with definitely was not Art, and being painted lying on a bed wearing nothing but a smile and a small bunch of grapes was good solid Art, but putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky.
“No urns,” he said at last.
“What urns?” said Nobby.
“Nude women are only Art if there’s an urn in it,” said Fred Colon. This sounded a bit weak even to him, so he added: “Or a plinth. Both is best, o’course. It’s a secret sign, see, that they put in to say that it’s Art and okay to look at.”
-from Thud! by Terry Pratchett
posted by damayanti at 8:56 AM on July 21 [44 favorites]


This PornHub project is hilarious!

Gonna cast some side eye on this though "with the help of amateur superstars MySweetApple". I know "amateur" in porn doesn't really mean "amateur" any more, but "we paid these actors to make porn.. they're amateurs!" is a bit of cognitive dissonance for me.
posted by Nelson at 8:57 AM on July 21 [7 favorites]


Glegrinof, would that be OnlyFhtagns?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:08 AM on July 21 [14 favorites]


Time to Lawyer Up??
posted by mfoight at 9:09 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


I know "amateur" in porn doesn't really mean "amateur" any more

Kinda like the Olympics, in a way.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:14 AM on July 21 [26 favorites]


The TimeOut article says that Pornhub "teamed up" with these 6 museums, but given the responses from the museums, that seems not to be the case.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:52 AM on July 21 [3 favorites]


Feels like pornhub is trying to make the point that we have always enjoyed looking at sexy naked pictures of good-looking people and indeed, some of these sexy naked pictures we now consider to be high art.

And museums would prefer to make the opposite point, which is to keep your crass pornographic readings away from our art :P
posted by subdee at 9:58 AM on July 21 [11 favorites]


Does the Louvre et.al. have an actual realistic case against the transformative use of works that must be out of copyright? Id thought that you can do pretty much what you please with public domain art.
posted by Mitheral at 10:24 AM on July 21 [10 favorites]


Well, let's hope that the "re-enactions" don't include Guernica.

too soon?

I'll see myself out

posted by Halloween Jack at 10:26 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Well, this might make things more complicated for public librarians. A while back I was on the reference desk and a little old lady came over to complain that a guy on a computer around the corner was "watching pornography," which is always one of the things you're happy to hear as a librarian*. So I went around and had a discrete peek at his computer screen, and...he was looking at classical paintings, and not particularly salacious ones at that. So I went back and told the lady that what he was viewing was not pornography as the library defines it, but if he'd been on Pornhub looking at these paintings, lol? I'm glad I don't have to do that sort of work anymore.

* for the record, the library's official policy regarding porn is that (assuming it's legal porn and that you're not engaging in public acts of lewdness) you can view it, but if someone complains about it then it rises to the level of "disruptive behaviour" as outlined in the rules of conduct and we can ask them to stop.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:27 AM on July 21 [11 favorites]


In a little confused as to how the museums can sue. If it was something like Magritte's Attempting the Impossible, which hits public domain in 2023, I can understand how that might work. But these paintings are centuries old. Some of the sculptures are millennia old. Can someone more acquainted with the law help out here?

On preview, echoing Mitheral.
posted by Hactar at 10:30 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


By the age of these paintings they would be public domain by now, but from the Yahoo article it seems some countries grant special rights to museums?
“In Italy, the cultural heritage code provides that in order to use images of a museum, compressed works for commercial purposes, it is necessary to have the permission, which regulates the methods and sets the relative fee to be paid.
posted by RobotHero at 10:32 AM on July 21 [3 favorites]


I suppose that in the past, only the relatively wealthy could have looked at 'artistic' naked pictures whenever they pleased. Now that the common people can do it anytime they want, it's become an issue of public morals.

I can, but you can't.
posted by subdee at 10:47 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Does the Louvre et.al. have an actual realistic case against the transformative use of works that must be out of copyright?

If memory serves, the legal crux of this hinges on the manner in which rights migrate from the work through its reproductions. For example, if I come upon an old painting and I photograph it carefully to produce a high-quality digital reproduction, the painting might be in the public domain, but my photograph is not. When access to a work of art is controlled by a museum, they can make your access to the work contingent on giving them certain rights over the resulting photographs. Provided the museum applies these procedures strictly, you can have a situation in which the painting itself is in the public domain, but every digital reproduction of that painting must necessarily have passed through the 'rights bottleneck' of the museum at some point. This legal logic has been streamlined in many cases, as in the case that RobotHero points out for Italian museums.

This is surprising to a lot of people because the Internet is littered with JPEGs of fine art, often at pretty high resolutions, and a lot of those images were generated without a museum's permission or awareness (e.g. by scanning a print image without obtaining the relevant rights). Obviously, it's in the interests of museums to tolerate this widespread piracy because draconian enforcement would be expensive and very counterproductive - mostly, Internet people celebrating fine art is free advertising for these museums and for the mission of museums in general. However, just because there's a culture of ignoring digital image rights doesn't mean the museums don't have leverage, and that leverage can be deployed selectively against projects that are bad for the "brand" of fine art.

There's also a trademark/misrepresentation angle that can be exploited in the case of a work that leverages the identity of the museum itself. Don't say "We teamed up with the Louvre" if the Louvre wasn't involved and might not approve of your project.

In practice, of course, cases like these almost never make it into court. Since the Louvre is backed by the French government, you'd be crazy to try to outspend them on legal fees over what amounts to an ad campaign, so legal threats alone are usually sufficient to squash 'inappropriate works' (defined however the museum likes).
posted by belarius at 10:50 AM on July 21 [12 favorites]


subdee - Ah! I was going to reply to your post to say exactly what you've said. Superfluous post below, because waste not want not.

we have always enjoyed looking at sexy naked pictures of good-looking people and indeed, some of these sexy naked pictures we now consider to be high art.

Although, when one considers who paid for the pictures to be painted, and consequently controlled the tiny audience of people who got to see The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies and everything becomes murkier. It sort of depends who you mean by "we".
posted by Grangousier at 10:50 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]


I do enjoy Italian politics: "Cicciolina, an iconic porn star, member of Italian parliament..."
posted by doctornemo at 10:50 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]


What is this garbage framing

I'm pretty sure the answer's: Daily Beast editorial policy.


In this context it should be Bestialité Quotidienne.
posted by srboisvert at 11:00 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Obviously, it's in the interests of museums to tolerate this widespread piracy because draconian enforcement would be expensive and very counterproductive

...not to mention morally dubious and goodwill-killing
posted by trig at 11:15 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


For example, if I come upon an old painting and I photograph it carefully to produce a high-quality digital reproduction, the painting might be in the public domain, but my photograph is not.

This may be the case in Europe—I'm not familiar with any of the laws there, really—but it is not as straightforward in the US. To have its own copyright, the new work has to have some degree of originality.

A photo of a public domain work, cropped tightly so as to contain only the work, seems like it would be lacking in the necessary originality to create a new work, and thus a new copyright. In the US, some courts have agreed, and called photographs of paintings mere "slavish copying" (a somewhat unfortunate term of art from Nimmer) and denied them a separate copyright, unless they have a "interpretive dimension or spark of originality" (see Schiffer v. Chronicle).

A fun example I'm fond of is Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q., in which Duchamp took a pre-printed postcard of the Mona Lisa, drew a moustache and beard on it in pencil, and titled it. That's always been considered creative enough to have its own copyright, and as far as I know the Louvre never went after him for it. (Actually he did it several times between 1919 and 1964, and I've always been curious whether each one has a separate copyright, or they are similar enough that they're considered one creative work and will go into the Public Domain at the same time.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:25 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]


Lawsuits on it are probably largely performative. I of course loathe how the term's been poisoned, but it's a literal virtue-signal, telling donors and patrons in the varying-levels-of-sputtering-how-dare-you-conflate-art-with-smut sets that this is nothing to do with us, we share your HOW DARE! and are on the task. It'll all be a Streissand Effect, of course, but that's not involved in the need to signal to the right people on their side--and that effect goes both ways. They're apt to draw in more visitors who by god will show the smut-peddlers of the crass world that art is important.

Pornhub itself almost certainly had their own legal teams and resources lined up well before launching it, estimating costs on the legal actions to be threatened, followed through, settled, fought to one degree or another, etc. Involved in the cost estimates would be leveraging the Streissand Effecting going their way from visitors who will by god show the prudes of the overserious world that etc.
posted by Drastic at 11:26 AM on July 21 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: we have always enjoyed looking at sexy naked pictures of good-looking people
posted by PhineasGage at 11:31 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]


*clicks*
Oh my god, people are having sex in this pornography!
posted by Sterros at 12:00 PM on July 21 [5 favorites]


I come upon an old painting and I photograph it carefully

Art shmart that’s just gross
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:59 PM on July 21 [14 favorites]


When access to a work of art is controlled by a museum, they can make your access to the work contingent on giving them certain rights over the resulting photographs

I can kinda see that. Can they stop you from creating a derivative work merely from mental notes though? IE I go to the Louvre, view the Mona Lisa, and then later that day paint a "copy" from memory. Can they restrict my commercial use of that copy either by default or with some back of my ticket disclaimer?

I not viewing NSFW material at work so this might not apply in this case but I'm intered in this more general case if anyone knows.
posted by Mitheral at 1:33 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


I did look at the site. They included images of the original paintings in addition to recreations.

All the articles about the site include images of paintings, and somehow or other this is legally viable for them to do.
posted by RobotHero at 1:52 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Someone should remind the French that a porn parody is a sure sign that you’ve officially made it.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:17 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


The national museum in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum, has high res scans of all their art online, and they invite you to download them to use or remix as you like. I don’t see why all museums don’t do this. The more widely known and appreciated the art in your collection is, the more people there will be who will want to go see it in person.
posted by antinomia at 3:13 PM on July 21 [7 favorites]


Article 14 of the 2019 "EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market" explicitly clarifies that museums cannot claim rights to digitizations of public domain works:
The article makes it clear that "when the term of protection of a work of visual art has expired, any material resulting from an act of reproduction of that work is not subject to copyright or related rights, unless the material resulting from that act of reproduction is original". In other words, the directive establishes that museums and other cultural heritage institutions can no longer claim copyright over (digital) reproductions of public domain works in their collections. In doing so the article settles an issue that has sparked quite some controversy in the cultural heritage sector in the past few year and aligns the EU copyright rules with the principles expressed in Europeana’s Public Domain Charter.

In practice this means that those in which non-original reproductions enjoy protection via neighbouring rights (such as it is the case in Spain or in Germany) will now have to modify their laws so that such rights can no longer be claimed in the case of reproductions of visual art works that are in the public domain.
In theory individual countries were to have implemented this into their own laws by June 7th of this year, but most have not yet, so there may still be a shrinking time window for museums to get in their last bit of copyright bullying.
posted by Pyry at 7:08 PM on July 21 [9 favorites]


When access to a work of art is controlled by a museum, they can make your access to the work contingent on giving them certain rights over the resulting photographs. Provided the museum applies these procedures strictly, you can have a situation in which the painting itself is in the public domain, but every digital reproduction of that painting must necessarily have passed through the 'rights bottleneck' of the museum at some point

This seems to be ripe for abuse by someone like Disney who could setup a "museum" to hold the rights bottle neck and defacto grant them the perpetual copyright they so desire. Glad to see it has been struck down.
posted by Mitheral at 7:39 PM on July 21 [3 favorites]


putting your finger on why this was the case was a bit tricky

It's art if the unclad people depicted in it don't seem the slightest bit fussed to look like real actual human beings.

Also, porn and art are overlapping circles on a much larger Venn diagram.
posted by flabdablet at 1:35 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


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