FedEx jets in snowflake formation, falling, collage and spray paint, Michael Oatman, 2002
OATMAN: I was really confronted with an inherent problem in my collage work about 5 years ago when I went to FedEx to mail a package, and their holiday ad campaign was FedEx jets in snowflake formation, falling. I retained an intellectual property lawyer, and we put together a package. My piece had been reproduced in magazine articles, and the people who pay a lot of attention to the art world for inspiration are the graphic designers. I all but got one of the graphic design people at their creative agency to admit to the fact that he appropriated my image, but he wouldn’t do it for the record.
So I sent the letter and FedEx wrote back and said: “Hey, have at it. We’ve got 70 billion dollars and 300 lawyers and you don’t own this idea.” I got that letter and I realized — I was going to sue FedEx over them taking my imagery, when I’ve been taking the illustrations of dead illustrators for years! And… I realized they were totally right. I hate to say that about this giant company.
If you’re an artist that appropriates things, and you’re going to play that game, then you should be prepared and honored for it to happen to you. And I was, in the end.
complete interview here