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Expropriate This!

Posted: February 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Art | Tags: | Comments Off on Expropriate This!


Discussed Shepard Fairy last month after his appearance on Colbert. Seems he’s not waiting to advance the art vs. ownership war. Shepherd and Stanford’s Fair Use Project have filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the AP. (FUP was founded by Lawrence Lessig, the copyright guru behind Creative Commons)

Read the full complaint here (pdf)

An article in yesterday’s New York Times quotes original Obama photographer Mannie Garcia

Mr. Garcia contends that he, not The Associated Press, owns the copyright for the photo, according to his contract with the The A.P. at the time. In a telephone interview on Monday, Mr. Garcia said he was unsure how he would proceed now that the matter had landed in court. But he said he was very happy when he found out that his photo was the source of the poster image and that he still is.

“I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet,” Mr. Garcia said. “But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.”

He added, “If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had.”

Supertouch has an excellent manifesto on plagerism (or not) in the art world. Haters love to bitch about Pop Art. A “Street” artist in the gallery is just murder to some. Warhol fukked people up good and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic art still fires and inspires.

And Boston’s finest are on to Shepard’s art. Ouch! Busted Monday on the way to his show at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Complaint is here (pdf)

Suspect Fairy continues to engage in a constant and systematic assault on Boston Neighborhoods

We talking about his gallery show here? He was hanging with Boston’s mayor just weeks previous.

Regarding the AP lawsuit Lessig writes:

Fair use in 1976 law – I’d say it’s pretty apparently fair use – the work was completely transformed. I’d bet an analysis of the pixel values for each point would be almost 100% different. Degree of creativity – 100%.

Two things strike me here. 1. This is so reminiscent of sampling wars from the early days of Hip-Hop. Yes, we have been here before! Great interview with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy on sampling. 2. As a former art teacher, I am reminded of all the great artwork that is created in the classroom from students expropriating from photographs. The SHAME! Get rid of all those back issues of National Geographic teachers!

On a lighter note, please watch the below video for a comic take on copyright (again from Stanford Law’s FUP)