Posted in music on February 5, 2009

Obama

On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.

Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.

The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.

The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees. [Yahoo News]

In related news, Shepard is appearing at Coachella, he did some work for N.A.S.A., he made a Bad Brains poster, and he recently appeared on the Charlie Rose show. Video below...

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Comments (42)

so fcking dumb.

give me a break.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 8:31 AM

second of all...shep's hasnt profited/been compensated from this specific image (at least up through the inauguration). this was something that was donated.

fckin noobs.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 8:33 AM

I think the guy should be arrested, convicted and sentenced to 10 years hard labor. just like we used to do in soviet union, hahaha!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 8:57 AM

To the gulag with him, comrades! YES WE CAN!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 9:31 AM

people are bastards.
the only thing AP gets credit for is being fucking despicable.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 9:58 AM

Fairey is having his first ( i believe) museum show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It opens tomorrow.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 10:00 AM

fucc people are greedy!!

Posted by slob | February 5, 2009 10:01 AM

Crystal Castles own this image.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 10:23 AM

i have a similar picture of obama on my old camera phone from 2005. does this mean i can sue the AP?

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 10:34 AM

he may not be making money on it but he is definitely building his "brand" - not the first time he hasn't asked permission...

http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 10:34 AM

Anonymous 8:57 AM was born in the Midwestern United States of America, several years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | February 5, 2009 11:15 AM

"i have a similar picture of obama on my old camera phone from 2005. does this mean i can sue the AP?"

The burden is on you to show that the AP "used" your photo in creating theirs if you want to see any $. Good luck with that.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:24 AM

Isn't this clearly a derivative work?

Posted by yeti | February 5, 2009 11:32 AM

RISD!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:48 AM

"Isn't this clearly a derivative work?"

It seems to be, but it has to deviate enough from the original AP photo in order to become an "original work" itself, therefore allowing for its own copyright protection.

There's a chance that Fairey's work would be considered a derivative work but its "substantially similar" to the APs work, and he would violate APs copyright.

Posted by Big Perm | February 5, 2009 11:49 AM

"i have a similar picture of obama on my old camera phone from 2005. does this mean i can sue the AP?"

The argument that "anyone could have shot this photo" doesn't really fly. If Fairey could have shot this photo, then why didn't he? He also could have easily used a Creative Commons photo, but he didn't.

I just want to point to a blog posting that opened up my eyes to just how much of this guy's stuff is appropriated imagery:

http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm

Posted by Aaron | February 5, 2009 11:52 AM

AP is horseshit - nothing like acting 2 years AFTER the fact. Greedy fucks.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:01 PM

Greed indeed: The AP goes after Fairey bc the Obama Admin is going after AP through higher taxation of corporations.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:05 PM

Bound to happen. A lot of Shep's imagery is "appropriated".

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:43 PM

Girl Talk's career is appropriated.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:46 PM

people really just scroll down to the bottom and comment without reading the earlier comments, huh?

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:54 PM

what does this have to do with MUSIC?

you are not a news site. you are certainly not a journalist. please stop trying to be one.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:01 PM

BOYCOTT THE AP!!! GET YOUR NEWS ELSEWHERE!!!

Posted by Fox News | February 5, 2009 1:10 PM

What does this have to do with Brooklyn or being vegan?

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:13 PM

To anon 1:01, Shep is part of the music scene too (djing festivals and his own opening) so this is totally relevant.

If anyone is interested in a more informed discussion of this (I know there are some non-trolls on here who actually give a shit about this subject). Go to
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/04/ap-tries-to-shake-do.html#comments

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:16 PM

In other news, Etta James hates Obama AND Beyoncé.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:18 PM

"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to." Jean-Luc Godard.

Can't help but think that quote applies perfectly in this case. Fairey took a fairly standard, almost emotionless photograph and turned it into one of the most meaningful and recognizable images of the entire Obama campaign. Sucks people can't just give the respect due and move on instead of pondering ways to make money off of another artist.

Posted by TheAudioMedium1 | February 5, 2009 1:20 PM

"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to." Jean-Luc Godard.

A romantisized ideal that, unfortunately, violates current US Copyright Law.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:46 PM

how can someone possibly want to profit off of our dear Saint Obama...???

HIS presence in our lowly lives is profit enough.
ALL HAIL THE OMNIPOTENT CHANGE AGENT!

(now do the pretend slow-jerk off motion)

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:50 PM

Fuck Obama... why are you reporting on this??

Posted by John | February 5, 2009 2:42 PM

It's not an exact copy -- they have no case. It's a reference for art that is protected political speech. Fairey's made no money at all.

No case.

Posted by RBS | February 5, 2009 4:29 PM

"It's not an exact copy -- they have no case. It's a reference for art that is protected political speech. Fairey's made no money at all. No case."

It doesn't have to be an "exact copy" for infringment to be found. The test is "substantially similar."

And Fairey selling even one of them constitutes making money as far as the law is concerned.

Legally, AP has a case, but the burden is on them to actually prove it for them to win.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:33 PM

it doesn't really have to do with obama, johnny. it has to do with liars who sue thieves as it applies to hipster culture.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:37 PM

To this non-lawyer, it sounds like they would have a case against lots of people (including Obama's inaugural committee) OTHER THAN Shepard Fairey.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:09 PM

F*k OBAMA
seriously, how dumb are people www.worldstarhiphop.com%2Fvideos%2Fvideo.php%3Fv%3DwshhK09UCKR2uH9jEnwQ&h=3504da0a871c3a996a66cdcdd7f716d7

when can Americans wake up ?
it's all a scam
why fuss over NOTHING
we have NO POWER
we are at the mercy of
the GREATER EVIL
and BHO is the new BUSH
suck it all you wannabe elitist
fake hipster IDIOTS
get a clue
and slap yourself outta your pathetic
dream.
Stop insulting angels like Dr. King
with Trilateral CFR skum.
Webster Tarpley, Jesse Ventura, Ron Paul
live for something or die for nothing
peasant slave fools.

Posted by young buck | February 5, 2009 5:26 PM

Tiny URL is your friend, young buck.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:33 PM

well said young buck

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:49 PM

You're misinformed, young buck.

Posted by chico | February 6, 2009 3:02 AM

HA! Shepard Fairey got arrested!

Posted by Law & Order: Brooklyn Vegan | February 8, 2009 9:01 PM

It turns out the AP hasn't sued Fairey -- yet. They were in settlement discussions and Fairey's lawyers filed suit against the AP today.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 9:33 PM

I'm finally glad justice has been served.

I love how people think how graffiti is breaking the law and that it should be enforced, then as soon as someone is vandalizing and ruining public and private property with imagery of their new democratic *cough*socialist*Cough cough* icon all of a sudden there's a double standard.

Fairey was arrested this past weekend on vandalism charges and could face up to three years in prison.

Once Fairy gets out of jail 3 years after the trial is over and he gets the verdict he deserves, we can breathe a sigh of a relief knowing that we will have a republican president and the leadership that we as Americans deserve.

And that will be 3 years and 15 minutes after this Fairy guy's fame is gone and forgotten. Good riddance, stupid democrat!

Posted by Anonymous | February 10, 2009 11:19 PM

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