Fairey Answers The AP's Counterclaims

We filed our answer to The AP's counterclaims yesterday, and it's attached below. The interesting part is at the end, where we illustrate the double standard the AP seems to employ when it comes to using copyrighted works.


Congratulations on your defense against the hypocritical press. Don't let them bully you around! Excellent work on exposing their hypocrisy with all the photos of copyrighted works they have stolen images of (and profit from). Hopefully some common sense and logic will come into play so that these bullies can take their nonsense and shut up about it. They are truly out of line, trying to gain compensation for things that aren't theirs to begin with. The arrogance of the Associated Press is mind-blowing sometimes.

Why don't you guys work out a settlement and stop fighting this out in the media. It will only make matters worse. Clearly you must understand the importance of an artist ability to have copyright protection. Whether it is a photographer, a painter or sculptor, this is how artist's make their money to survive. If you have adapted a photo, then you are obligated to compensate the original artist. Of course it is much easier to do this in "advance" of its success. But now that the work is done, surely the Obama campaign has funds to offer a fair amount, that the AP would have accepted, had they been contacted for clearance in the first place. This ugliness is diluting the message of "Change". Stop digging in your heels on both sides and work this out. Fair is Fair!

As a professional photographer I completely support Shepard Fairey's argument in this case. What he did was REFERENCE the photo, it is not an exact replica and the poster is clearly done in Shepard's trademark artistic style. Artists reference other people's work, it's been that way for centuries, that's part of how we communicate and exchange ideas and it should not be considered illegal!

Re: "What he did was REFERENCE the photo."

I don't think that's correct. Referencing the photo would involve looking at it or recalling it and then creating an image that may be reminiscent or the original or some aspect of it. That involves the artist in the process: her/his vision and interpretation and a recreaation. The art history you're referring to involves students learning from masters - and masters learning from each other - by copying. Copying is the most extreme form of referencing - perhaps it's so extreme that to call it 'referencing' is misleading. In any case, none of what you're referring to involves a direct tracing of a mechanical reproduction, which is what Fairey did. (Yes, Warhol did it, but he used his own photographs.)

Indisputably, Fairey's work is valuable and artistic because of his vision and interpretation. In everyday language, it is clearly an original work. But the legal meaning of 'original' might be different. Personally, I don't have an opinion on whether Fairey did in fact violate copyright as the law currently stands. But the copyright law doesn't seem to me very clear, and the parts that are clear are often inconsistent. I hope this case and the publicity surrounding it leads to big changes so that visual and sound artists and writers and composers and architects can enjoy similar protections and freedoms.

Oh please. Andy Warhol did not pay Campbell's Soup and Roy Lichtenstein did not pay the illustrator of the "True Romance" comics he "referenced".
Shepard Fairey's posters are original art. He has taken a photo of President Obama (Senator Obama then) from a certain reference point, cropped and masked the image until he had just President Obama,he then manipulated the image's colors and surrounding landscape to the point where it resembles the posters of the 1940's (in my opinion). He has taken a plain photo and made a work of art that he can call his own.
An emotional response is felt when you look at Shepard Fairey's poster/lithograph. You can not say the same for the AP picture.
Mr. Fairey and his lawyers have made a very good point about Associated Press' ability to make a profit on pictures of artists' work, without the artists' permission or receiving royalties.
This lawsuit is about much more than an Artist taking a copyrighted picture without permission. this lawsuit will set a precedent on an artists' ability to use a program such as "Photoshop" and create a collage from images collected from the internet. The collage is an original piece of artwork. Will that artist then have to get permission from the photographer of every picture used? Think of The Beatles album "Sgt Peppers" and the famous collage from the album cover, and now think of this issue again with that image in thought...

So this BLOG is censored. Fairness is not what Mathew Sheppard wants. He glorified the lord OBAMA then got notoriety himself on the way. OBAMA got a presidency and now is traveling the world like a movie star. He has no money for Mr. Sheppard!

This whole thing is a joke! The concept of fairness appears to mean fairness as long as you get the most.

Where is my last post! This BLOG is a farce.

Guess what youcensoredmypost your the egomaniac.
"Lord OBAMA" get over it.
Keep on fighting the good fight Sheppard. Thanks for the inspiration.

youcensoredmypost: Matthew Sheppard died because of horrible homophobic violence. Shepard Fairey is appropriately championing fair use. These are two completely separate issues.

What... What does Obama have to do with a copyright dispute?

The lawsuit was just a way to stir things up. its really a load of shite. AP uses lots of images that are copy righted and no one gives a damn. Keep going Shep!

The picture of the alleged Herring artwork was used in an article where an authority on Herring's work said it was not by the artist. I believe that person is a relative of Herring, but I could be wrong.

No doubt, Shepard Fairey has a strong, recognizable graphic style but he's a bit of a hypocrite with overly simple politics. He sells a lot of posters , excuse me, prints for profit and yet the content of many bash greed. For example, one poster pictures a dollar sign and the slogan This Is Your God. But I digress.

Shepard doesn't like other people profiting off his work. In other words he blasts people who sell his work on E-bay for profit. OK, that's fine if your not profiting off of other artist's work! Much of his graphic imagery is lifted directly from other retro posters, propaganda, photo's anything really.
I'm sure you are a nice guy Shepard. I like your taste in music at least, but get your philosophy straight.

Fight On for the Right of Creativity and All artists.

I'm not saying I disagree with Shepard's current stance(I certainly do not), but I do find it odd seeing as he filed a cease & desist order against Baxter Orr, in a similar situation.
It seems this is merely a guy trying to keep all the profit he's made from this picture and turning it around, because in this case (unlike the last), he is the little guy.
Fight On Indeed.

I didn't know about Baxter Orr, but now all I can say about Mr. Fairey is,
Just lost the last shreds of street cred.

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