LETTERS: On rescinding appointment of commissioner’s uncle and sculptor taking too much credit

A ‘step backward’

With much disappointment, I read Sunday that Hidalgo County lawyer Steve Crain is sticking by his well-connected guns and has decided that there is no nepotism involved in Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fuentes appointing his uncle to the powerful Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority Board. It seems Mr. Crain is basing his opinion on a razor thin definition of the word “paid.” I would like to ask him a question. Would not the uncle’s benefiting from additional influence be payment if that influence provides him income “pay” from any source related to his voluntary position? Ah, the additional problem of conflict of interest raises its ugly head.

Hidalgo County Commissioners court has gone to great length to proclaim its transparency and openness in government. This is NOT a good example of that proclaimed clarity. We, the people, need evidence that the appointee’s decisions will not be influenced by his employer, his family members, including Commissioner Fuentes, or any ties to landowners, financial institutions or construction companies the RMA Board may be negotiating with. Did you do this? Exactly what experience does he have for this position? Was he the best available candidate? Or was he only nominated because he is Commissioner Fuentes’ uncle?

Hidalgo County has just begun to see the light of honesty in government let’s not take any steps backward.

Ned Sheats, Mission

Taking undue credit

Regarding Sunday’s story in the Vida section “Sculpting away’ on UTRGV sculptor Douglas Clark, a “3-foot figure” enlarged and reproduced in marble by Italian chromists result in a reproduction.

A chromist is someone who copies the work of another.

As an artist, who creates original lithographs and who researches and publishes on issues of authenticity, it should be obvious to academic and sculptor Clark that original works of visual art — like sculptures by an artist vs. reproductions not by an artist — are not interchangeable, much less the same. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, it seems Clark came to believe and act on the belief that reproductions can be attributed to an artist.

In reality, if the artist did not carve this marble, they cannot be the author. If the artist is not the author, it cannot be an original work of visual art, IE sculpture attributable to them.

To belabor a fact, reproductions are not attributable to an artist.

>> Reproductions of an artist’s work are not attributable to that artist.

This factual perspective is confirmed by U.S. Copyright Law 106 A, “The Rights of Attribution — shall not apply to any reproduction?” Additionally, under U.S. Copyright Law 103. “Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works,” it states: “The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work.”

>> So, the artist and/or the company owns the “material” i.e., model contributed by the artist and/or company, but not the derivative work AKA reproductions. Those reproductions manufactured by the chromists, may have been authorized by the artist and/or company but until they are paid for, the chromists owns them.

There is no free lunch.

>> “Limited editions,” are original works of visual art signed and numbered by the artist.

This factual perspective is confirmed under U.S. Copyright Law 101. Definitions, where a work of visual art is defined as: “a painting, drawing, print or sculpture, existing in a single copy, in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author.”

Reproductions, by their very nature have no such limitation. The Italian chromists have the digital file. Those in possession of that digital file can do what they may.

>> Black’s Law Dictionary defines “representation” as: “A presentation of fact — either by words or by conduct — made to induce someone to act.” “Disclosure” is defined as: “The act or process of making known something that was previously unknown.”

In other words, reproductions by Italian chromists are not sculptures and any representation as an original works of visual art IE, sculpture would not meet the expectation of disclosure as reproductions.

I hope this will empower everyone to know and understand that sculptures are original works of visual art wholly executed by hand by an artist and excludes any mechanical and photomechanical processes and all others are at best reproductions.

Gary Arseneau, researcher and publisher on issues of authenticity, Fernandina Beach, Florida

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