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Thursday, February 5, 2009

AP Hopes to Get Paid By Shepard Fairey

The Associated Press is going after Shepard Fairey and his famous Obama "Hope" campaign poster. AP's lawyers contacted Fairey's lawyers about copyright infringement.
When I photographed Shepard, we asked him about where he got the image, he was straight forward saying he found the image on Google images and began working his magic. He then went on to describe the process in creating his iconic image of President Obama. It was obvious he felt confident that he was not infringing on copyright laws. At the time I think he said he didn't know who the photographer was.
I have been watching recently as different photographers were being given credit for the photo, including a Reuters photog. AP photographer Mannie Garcia was finally agreed upon as the source of the original image of Obama. Will this backfire on the AP and become a pr nightmare? Bottom line for me, as a photojournalist, if that was my image, I would expect to be paid a licensing fee.


deryke said...

photographers never get this ...

a drawing is not a photo! bottom line. even an exact tracing is 100 % different than a drawing. even given the idea that we could even consider them the same he has STILL altered it more that 20 percent that is enough to get pass under any law. the AP is out of luck and really showing their asses on this one.

srsly as a photographer you should be lucky looks at your work at all, because everybody has a camera and very few have the graphic talent of sheperd fairy.

Jonathan Alcorn said...

We'll see, AP has the some of the best lawyers for these matters, thinking they wouldn't press the issue if they didn't feel they have the case.
And by the way deryke , having a camera doesn't make you an excellent photographer, it takes lots of hard work and talent, so not sure about the last part of your post, but thanks for sharing anyway

deryke said...

it just fires me up.

they arent even repp'n the PHotOG the guy was fired or quit before this even came to light. its the AP.

weren't they the good guys?

as an ILLUSTRATOR that has used MUCH scrap [prolly even from you] i know the AP is out of gas it JUST hurts that it would even be brought up.

art on art crime is always bad!

oh yeah and about having a camera and being a photog, i'm not sure you are right about that. only time will tell.

AND... BTW i have a book of photography out! its called TWO YEAR WALK it's at stories in echo park.

tell me if it sucks!
but guy it first!

ps LOOOVE the blog. i subscribe!

KellyJ said...

There are many ways to look at this and many ways to argue it and there is no right answer. The United States is a country that heavily supports copyrights and protection of intellectual property but in other parts of the world (Asia) they believe differently. I think the intention of copyrights is to not allow other people to make money off of your work. Did Fairey make money off of AP's work? What was the value of the photo before the Fairey painting? What is it worth now? How much did the photographer get compensated by AP? Has Fairey infringed or inhibited AP's ability to make money off that photo? Was the photo ever sold as a work of art? I think compensation is warranted but it should not be based on the value of Fairey's painting because Fairey alone created that value. Compensation should be based on what the photo was worth at the time Fairey decided to use it. It's all about perception. If Fairey had put a cigarette dangling in the mouth it would be considered parody or satire and would be exempt from copyright infringement laws. I support protecting intellectual property and the laws are not clear. Music can be sampled but only up to a point legally. Some think any sampling should be illegal. Artists are exploited and often their work is eventually seized to sell commercial products. Even death won't protect your work. Who's making money on all those Elvis and Tupac albums?

Jonathan Alcorn said...

good points by both of you guys, one thing for sure, I love Shepard's work!

Ted Soqui Photography said...

This doesn't happen to AP photogs, not vandals.
Fairey Arrest
Obama Poster Artist Busted in Boston
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey, known for his
posters of then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama, was arrested in Boston on
warrants alleging property damage due to graffiti, it was reported today.
Boston police had two warrants for the artist's arrest, and he was
picked up Friday night, d Jake Wark of the Boston district attorney's office.
Fairey, 38, was in Boston for a new exhibit of his work at the Institute
of Contemporary Art.
Police were unsure if Fairey was in custody this morning. The alleged
crime did not involve posters of President Obama.
Fairey's iconic ``Hope'' image was reproduced for thousands of posters,
stickers and other materials in the 2008 presidential campaign. The Charleston,
S.C.-born artist emerged from the skateboarding scene. He joined guerilla
artist Robbie Conal in 2004 to create a series of anti-Bush posters.

Julia Esacove said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think people should be critical of Shep Fairey. I like the response this guy made to Sheps AP response. I agree with him that if Obey Giant Art Inc. wins its case again the AP it will open the doors for other companies that want to use photographers or any other art images. People need to stop painting this case out as being just a big mean media source vs. a little artist. The case involves Fairey AND Obey Giant Art Inc.! A company! And Fairey is by no means a poor artist even before the Obama poster. And it is very true that Huffington Post is not posting comments that point out these facts!