Monday, February 9, 2009

Shepard Fairey arrested for old art

This isn't directly related to Madison, but I find it interesting and relevant to what this blog is all about: Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston while on the way to his art opening, based on warrants issued for old street art he'd allegedly put up.

Fairey is the artist behind the blue and red Obama "Hope" poster, among other things. He's also currently dealing with the AP's (pretty ridiculous, IMHO) suit against him for alleged copyright infringement. He based aforementioned poster off an AP photo, but as far as I can tell, this is pretty clearly an instance of fair use, not infringement.

It ain't easy being an artist.

What do you think? Is this a case of someone being targeting simply for becoming a more prominent figure, or do these people have legitimate greviences against him?


Daniella Maria said...

A five minute google search didn't result in much when I tried to find out if Andy Warhol was ever sued for the Campbell's Soup painting... but it would be interesting to see why they did/or didn't pursue that lawsuit.

Daniella Maria said...

Also, I just found this website about him:

Now.. I'm not sure I'd call him a plagiarist.. but taking old iconic propaganda images and using them in a LOT of your own artwork is kind of.. I don't know. It is a little cheap..

the Rising Jurist said...

For your and your readers information, "fair use" is a somewhat fuzzy concept, but is guided by U.S. Code, Title 17, §107. It's something that gets decided on a case by case basis, but includes these four considerations:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

My initial opinion is that Fairey transformed the original photograph enough that it became its own work. But if he made a pile of money off the design, I can't say I blame the photographers for wanting their fair share.