Archigram to Banksy

February 24, 2013

I bought Archigram magazine as a student in 60s and being an ardent follower, attended as many of their events as I could at that time. Architectural Design used to cover their work regularly and had a big readership among students.

I have been putting occasional scanned images from my Archigrams on Flickr site since 2008 (before the Archival Project existed) and recently a Blog for Archigram Monte Carlo 1969 competition entry published in AD of January 1970.  Both my Flickr site and Blog have no commercial slant and simply aim to bring Archigram (and other architectural work of note) as a study resource easily available to the new generations of architectural students and teachers every where in the world, who may know little about the scope of their work and tremendous impact this group made on second half of 20th century.

Having a quick look at the ‘views’ recorded for my Flickr and Blog site for Archigram’s work, I can confidently say that figure is around 50,000. The hits come in clusters and it is not difficult to guess the part of the globe (Papua New Guinea to Peru) where some architectural student class is currently studying some aspect of Archigram’s work by looking at the viewing records against the global time differences

arch13

I do ‘smell a rat’ when all of a sudden I am approached by a ‘publisher’  talking about ‘infringements of copyrights’ as I see some kind of profit motive lurking in the background. I know enough about these issues including character and purpose of my web sites at the same time I would hate to do anything to upset either the ‘Archigram Archives’, any original architects or their heirs who are the owners of the copyright. If any of these find any use of the images on my sites offensive, damaging or unacceptable in any way, please write to me as I would withdraw any offensive image or make suitable amendments.

‘Slave Labour’photo by Nigel Howard for London Evening Standard.

Arcives are here: http://archigram.westminster.ac.uk/

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10 Responses to “Archigram to Banksy”

  1. Shelley Power Says:

    Kindly understand that I am the literary agent who looks after copyright and permissions for the Archigram Archive, therfore on behalf of the architects and their heirs. I am NOT a publisher, and there is no “rat”. That is very insulting of you, in fact. We do NOT want anyone posting our images without permission anywhere on the internet. This is copyright material and using it without permission is against the law. Please be kind enough to understand that and therefore to remove ALL images from your blog, from flickr and anywhere else on the internet. We are not asking you for money, but we do want you to cease and desist.and do not force us to take any other action. The Archival Project is available for all students to see. Thank you.. Shelley Power, Shelley Power Literary Agency Ltd.

    • RP Says:

      Shelley,

      Iqbal’s use of these images is indeed strictly speaking in breach of copyright, but he is essentially providing an informal educational service that can only serve to enhance general knowledge and understanding of Archigram and further boost their international reputation. It should be in the copyright owners’ interest to allow this fair use to continue. Anyone seriously thinking of publishing these images knows where to go to obtain the relevant permissions, and they are not the sort of images from which any significant commercial revenue can be made. I hope you will relent from your blanket ban and open a more reasonable negotiation with Iqbal.


    • Shelley, this is puzzling since Iqbal’s Archigram Flickr set is linked from the bibliography section of the Archival Project itself! At the very least this implies official awareness and tolerance – a decision must have been made in 2010 when the Archival Project was set up that Iqbal’s set was not a problem in terms of republishing the material. If this is now considered to be a problem, a more reasonable approach might be to ask that his publicly available material be reduced to the image sizes available on the Archival Project. It would also be worth checking to see if he has anything that is currently missing from the archive – no doubt he will make it available. Please treat him as a long-standing admirer, and purchaser of Archigram rather than a pirate.

  2. Ian Waites Says:

    A bit fierce surely, given that, apart what seems to me to be a genuine spirit of open-mindedness on Mr Aalam’s part, he was also one of the few perhaps who ORIGINALLY bought Archigram magazine when it first appeared. He clearly isn’t some young arriviste collector or dealer riding some trendy ‘I love post-war architecture’ bandwagon – apart from anything else, he is not copying and posting ‘your’ images, he’s photographing his own collection!??

  3. Mr Dee Says:

    Shelley seems to be driven by money and rules alone. Mr Aalam is a true enthusiast and has taken a cue from Archigram themselves – using new media to enlighten others and collaborate. He does this in the spirit of enthusiasm for and love of the original material in his own collection and its creators. Has ‘Archigram’ really just become a franchise like MacDonalds, focused merely on monetary gain? Shelley – please – get a life!

  4. rbnd1 Says:

    Iqbal, I have long been enamoured with your generosity concerning your own images and the amount of time and energy you put into your flickr site and you blog. Given the amount of material available elsewhere on the web that relates to Archigram it seems a rather heavy handed approach to insist that you remove it. Does your site carry advertising? No. Do you gain financially from this? No. Was the spirit of Archigram one of collaboration and shared learning? Yes. Shelley – dare you reconsider?

  5. Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD Says:

    Dear Iqbal,
    There is no reason for you to be defensive about your actions. You have NOT broken UK Copyright law or the US DMCA.

    http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p27_work_of_others

    You own the original magazines. Your scan of them is entirely within Fair Use provisions in both the UK and the US. The US is involved because you have chosen WordPress to host your Blog. Anything with a .com domain comes within US law.

    It is also 99.99% likely that when you were out purchasing Archigram issues when they were first published, Ms Power did not know Archigram even existed.

    In addition, you have transformed the original work and have used it to make an editorial point in relation to a matter of topical interest that has been in the news just within the past week.

    If Ms Power wishes to challenge you she will perforce have to do so under US law and there is ZERO chance of her prevailing given these points of law.

    Best wishes + carry on!
    Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD

  6. doctorcasino Says:

    Bravo, Iqbal. I am as sensitive as anyone to the importance of copyright to protect artists, but as presented here the approach taken by Ms. Power seems unnecessarily hard-edged and heavy-handed, as others have said. I am sure she is following correct procedure within her field, but unlike trademarks, copyrights are not lost simply because the rights-holder grants an exception (or at least that’s how it is in the US, as I understand things). What harm is Iqbal’s generous work doing to Archigram? What profit is he imagined to be making from their work? It is an odd reversal from the archive linking directly to his blog. Can these things not be worked out reasonably?

  7. winslowhub Says:

    Ben Lepley +_+ Pro User says:

    I first discovered your photos while doing research on London brutalism from the 1960’s. This was actually quite helpful in working on my Thesis at SCI_Arc. Some of your on-site photos which you painstakingly scanned and labelled are of course not found anywhere else but here, many of which are important projects I would probably never have learnt about.
    The real kicker is of course the Archigram content. The metabolist movement is again super relevant in the current architectural cannon. It frequently comes up in conversations in our office (MAD) and your scans have been shown during our internal conceptual meetings. As they are already in digital form it is super easy for us to use for throwing ideas around form team to team, project to project. Anyways keep it up!

  8. Ben Says:

    I came across your blog a few days ago as I was searching for an article I can longer locate about Gordon Pask, Archigram and the AA. Thank you for posting the images from Archigram & all of the other architectural wonders you’ve come across.

    As someone who uses the Archigram archive quite regularly, I know, much to my frustration, that they can only put up images of the various Archigram issues at an agreed upon resolution. I suspect that is the reason you’ve been contacted: your images are too good. Of course, the other issue is that they want to manage image rights. Perhaps the archive depends on a portion of the image rights for survival. The arts in higher ed are struggling, as you must know. This is what they say about the images they provide on the web archive:

    “The images shown here have been made available by Archigram members or their heirs, at a restricted resolution which has been agreed with Archigram. They may be used, at or below this size only, for student essays or visual presentations….If you are publishing a student essay or thesis, you will need to seek permission for any Archigram material included in it. If you are in any doubt about what is and is not permitted, please check with the authors/copyright holders for their agreement to your proposed use.”

    Fair use be damned!

    The problem, as far as I’m concerned, is that the agreed upon resolution for the Archive is useless for anything more than forming a general impression of each page. Text is illegible for the most part. It is for that reason that I am particularly grateful for the images you’ve put up.


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