Saturday, February 7, 2009

Revenue Decrease? Sue Your Way Out of It

Alongside what has been one of the most visually branded campaigns ever, underground artist Shepard Fairey created what has become the second largest bootlegged and counterfeited images in recent memory:

The image, which Fairey contributed all his profits from back to the Obama Campaign, is now getting him sued by the Associated Press for - - wait for it - - copyright infringement. Because Fairey appropriated it from a bland AP wire service photo featuring a fairly bland-looking Barack sitting next to a much more animated George Clooney.

The AP is essentially looking at the bottom dropping out as it's members drop or reduce coverage. Mind you, AP service rules demand that the local outlets have to give 2 years notice. (Between cutting their AP service and local reporting staff, it makes you wonder what the hell local newspapers are going to print by next year.)

But suing the snot out of guy not known for having any money? Brilliant.

And you might want to ask the guy who own's the most bootlegged image in history how has his infringement revenue stream has worked out.


Judith said...

AP won't win this one. This is nothing but nonsense.

Judith said...

I love it. They arrest, ARREST, him just prior to his big opening. Why now?

Whatsamatter AP, want a piece of the action? Andy Warhol better destroy that can of soup pic before Campbell Soups sue him for copyright infringment.

Actually, all this nonsense will give this artist something every artist needs, publicity!

Judith said...

One other thought. This guy is an easy target, as I am sure he has no money to defend himself.

I paint. I use photos and others artwork as subjects for my paintings, at times. My understanding is as long as it is not an exact copy, I am in the clear. This artist took an ordinary photo shot, and changed it completely, thereby making it an original. If I am wrong about this, please someone let me know.

idiosynchronic said...

LA Times Link

idiosynchronic said...

And you should be covered by Fair Use, Judith. This lawsuit is a pure fishing expedition, IMO. Unlike most expeditions in popular TV culture, this is an expedition to see how much the AP can get away with. Can they push a president gutting fair use? Set an example for bloggers and other user's of AP intellectual property?

This is usually the act of a cash or asset flush company though. For the AP to try it says to me that they're grasping for anything to solve their current predicament.

And the arrest is interesting - the warrant was issued Jan 24th - almost 2 weeks ago -"Fairey has spent the last two weeks in the Boston area installing the ICA exhibit and creating outdoor art, including a 20-by-50 foot banner on the side of City Hall, according to a statement issued Saturday by the museum." And Fairey was arrested on the way to the opening of his solo gallery exhibition.

Something stinks.

Anjha said...

Holy crap. This is an unbelievable story. I cannot believe this. They have absolutley no grounds to sue.

Judith, you are correct. As an artist - you can take any "fair use" piece of art or picture or whatever, and once you have made it your own (as did Fairey) then it is considered a new piece of art.

This whole lawsuit is a joke and is probably designed to scare people. Like Idio said.

Something stinks.

You are correct sir.

What stinks is that the Bush Justice Department has not yet been scoured and scrubbed from all of the hacks that the Bush Admin appointed. They will come after any and all Progressives in any way possible.

Judith said...

Well, that's the way I understand it too. In fact, my art teacher told us to bring pictures from magazines or photos to use as subjects. Furthermore, that photo of Obama is a photograph that millions of us could have taken. It's not like some 'special' photo.

So the big Media giant picks on some street artist. What a farce!