AP shakes down Fairey

Oh, this is too good. A Pee has decided that Shepard Fairey stole one of their images of Obama for the famous “Hope” poster, and wants money. If you look at the pictures here, it’s pretty obvious that they have a case. OTOH, I haven’t noticed A Pee’s original being so fetching that people were pasting it all over, so the Fair Use argument is also strong. Of course, all pictures of the Glorious Leader should be the property of the People, and not the running-dog capitalist news services. But if Fairey could actually, you know, draw, this wouldn’t have come up.

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4 Responses to AP shakes down Fairey

  1. kishnevi says:

    Did anyone ever make similar claims against Andy Warhol?

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    I dunno. Isn’t legal research your bailiwick?

  3. kishnevi says:

    True. But I concern myself with the problems normal people face. Ripping off AP doesn’t fall into that category (to date).

  4. Andee says:

    Oh I think he can draw, and I think he could end this A Pee attack by claiming he actually used the photo his poster was first tied to as his visual reference, one done my photographer Jim Young. He openly admitted he used a pic from online as his reference in drawing the poster. As you said on my blog, he didn’t exactly have access to Obama directly, I doubt anyone making posters for the drive did, so why is Fairey the only one being sued for using one as their reference in making their poster? Because his caught on.

    So if his poster fits 2 pictures but neither exactly, then perhaps he direct copied neither:
    On Young’s photo the eyes do not match up-
    http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/2009/01/15/iconic-obama-poster-based-on-reuters-photo/
    On Garcia’s the head tilt is different-
    http://blogs.phillynews.com/inquirer/sceneonroad/2009/01/new_obamashepard_fairey_source_1.html

    Clearly he did not use a mere copy of the original, he transformed the image in what he painted. His poster should qualify for copyright of it’s own under fair use laws.

    Neither photographer linked their own photo to the poster until someone else suggested it a year after the fact, and even then neither made infringement noises, both in fact seem to think it would be an honor to have their photo linked to the resulting iconic poster. Only A Pee is firing up attorneys, and they may not even own the copyright…Garcia was a temp, he signed no contract with AP, according to the law he owns the copyright in those circumstances.

    Some other interesting takes on this case:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_11681951

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/04/ap-tries-to-shake-do.html

    The discussion in the comments on this article out of Boston is especially interesting:
    http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2009/01/25/shepard_the_giant/?page=1

    as is the comments discussion on this article:
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090204/1747283650.shtml

    Frankly it doesn’t matter if the whole world thinks Fairey is a sleaze, it doesn’t matter what he did before this, or how many times he did it.

    All that is in the discussion is if using a photo as a visual reference in drawing the poster infringes on someone’s copyright, and if they want to sue him over whether the resulting poster is fair use or a copyright violation.

    In my travels following this I have seen numerous articles on wrongful lawsuits filed by the AP over stuff like a headline wording appearing on blogs, even when linked to the story on their site with full credits. This does not exactly paint them as the warm and fuzzy victims they seem to want to be seen as.

    I cannot help feeling someone is wagging the Fairey dog as a distraction for something much bigger, but then you know me and my conspiracy theories… I just know from experience when a lot of money or an elected official is pushing something… it almost always comes with dirty laundry 😉

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