17 October 2009

Annals of Fair Use ~ Jackass, the Lawsuit

Well, as it turns out, Shepard Fairey is a liar. Perhaps that is a bit strong. Let's say that what he says, sometimes at least, has a tenuous relationship to what actually is the case - even when the 'some times' are really, really important and quite public. And, let's say that, having 'dissembled,' Fairey scurries about trying to conceal the 'creative' nature of his tale. I have posted here quite a lot on the intricacies and nuttiness of 'fair use'; indeed, this is terrain, that seems to drive people quite mad. This is a case in point.

The short story is that when, some time ago, AP - have I mentioned that AP, the corporate giant' here is a not-for-profit ?- threatened to sue Fairey for copyright infringement, claiming that, in designing his famous Obama poster, the 'artist' had worked directly from an image to which they held the rights, Fairey turned around and sued them first. In the course of all this Fairey retained legal counsel - I presume pro bono - from a clinic at Stanford Law School. the real problem, as The New York Times reports today, is that his entire strategy was based on fabrications. His lawyers have filed papers withdrawing from the case on grounds that Fairey lied to them.

I still think that Fairey - without the lies - might well have won the fair use case had AP actually filed it. After all, it was not even clear that they controlled rights to the relevant image, since it was taken by a free-lance photographer. Maybe Fairey thought some bluster might keep the who mess out of court. Who knows? The lesson? Don't try this at home. I suspect, and HOPE, that the judge in this case will throw the book at Fairey for his shenanigans. He can use whatever book is ready to hand, even if it belongs to someone else. That would be fair use, don't you think?

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Blogger Dawei_in_Beijing said...

So not only is he a mediocre talent but he's also a liar. Nice.

17 October, 2009 15:29  
Blogger Stan B. said...

Well, at least the balloon boy's telling the truth, isn't he?

18 October, 2009 10:52  

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