16 February 2009

Annals of Fair Use ~ Expert Testimony

I have posted a number of times on Shepard Fairey [1] [2] and some of his recent legal . . . well, depending on your perspective, either travails or shenanigans [3] [4]. Setting aside the quality of his work, which I have all along considered distinctly underwhelming, I still am not persuaded that his appropriation of photographs violates 'fair use.'

I am given some pause though, by this remark from a recent interview with graphics guru Milton Glaser: "For myself—this is subjective—I find the relationship between Fairey’s work and his sources discomforting. Nothing substantial has been added. . . . I think unless you’re modifying it and making it your own, you’re on very tenuous ground." If AP were to call Glaser to testify as an expert witness, old Shepard might have a tough go defending his claim to have creatively transformed Mannie Garcia's photograph of Obama.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no expert on fair use, and if Stanford's Anthony Falzone took the case, Fairey must have a reasonable argument. That said, I agree with Mr. Glaser. To me, both images essentially convey the same mood, and sensibility. I don't find that Fairey altered Garcia's original in any substantive way that justifies calling it his own.

17 February, 2009 03:06  

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