He Lied, He Covered Up, He Stole…But It’s Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey, who may have destroyed his own fair use case by lying and covering up his appropriation of a photograph (Courtesy: CBC)

Shepard Fairey, who may have destroyed his own "fair use" case by lying and covering up his appropriation of a photograph (Courtesy: CBC)

Bummer. A real bummer.

These posters–which have to authenticated–are going for the hundreds of dollars on eBay and elsewhere. There is a website that obama-cizes any photograph you like or have in that same Shepard Fairey way. He’s now a world-famous artist.

But when it came down to it, he only wanted the money. CREAM. I think that it is plainly just that simple. But what isn’t that simple is the concept of fair use. I think that he still has a case with that, but because he stepped into the ring with AP, he’s clouded the issue.

He had to back off his case against Steelerbaby, too, according to a commenter at the New York Times. What hypocrisy.

The bad part of it is, is that the original photographer, Mannie Garcia, may be facing his own lawsuit with the Associated Press. He says that as a freelancer who only worked for five months for AP, he never signed over his photographs from that Obama event with George Clooney to the media group. Who’s using who? It ain’t over yet.

Complicating the legal battle, the freelance photographer who took the photographs, Mannie Garcia, filed court papers in July saying he was the one who owned the copyright of the 2006 photograph; Mr. Garcia’s assignment was to photograph Mr. Clooney, and he contended that he never assigned his copyright rights to The A.P.

Mr. Fairey said on his Web site that his lawyers sent a letter to The A.P. and to Mr. Garcia, informing them that he would amend his court pleadings.

Whether Mr. Fairey used a photograph that cropped Mr. Obama or an uncropped photograph that showed only him could be part of a number of factors used to determine fair use, said Larry Lessig, the director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

But Mr. Lessig, who said that he has been advising Mr. Fairey but is not representing him, added that the significant issue in fair use cases is whether the image has been transformed from the original. If it has been “fundamentally transformed,” he said, then it can be used under copyright law.

On his Web site, Mr. Fairey expressed remorse and admitted that his actions “may distract from what should be the real focus” of his case. He said, “I am taking every step to correct the information, and I regret I did not come forward sooner.”

What an idiot. First, the Boston graffiti incident. Now this.

This sh*t about appropriation happens all the time, from Andy Warhol to Charles Moore to Jeff Koons to Annie Leibovitz. Fairey could have copped to the appropriation from the beginning and still maintained that he had “fair use” privileges. But he must have feared the loss of money and prestige, and thought he could get away with it by saying the big bad media firm was chasing his idea. Now his attorneys are considering withdrawing from the case because it throws everything into the toilet.

Saying he’s sorry doesn’t even cover it all.

~ by blksista on October 18, 2009.

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