Shepard Fairey: NO, YOU CAN'T!

Iconic artist Shepard Fairey who is iconic for his iconic OBEY images, has landed himself in hot water with his other iconic image of iconic President Obama. It seems that no matter how iconic you are, copyright can still come back to bite you.

It has been an ongoing battle of copyright since photographer Mannie Garcia spotted her image being used as source material for the HOPE posters seen all over last years election run-up in the US. Intially she was perfectly okay with it but then opinions changed once the Obama campaign took off. And copyright laws are now on her side.

obamahopeleft: photo by Mannie Garcia / right: image by Shepard Fairey

At the AOI, we frequently get asked these sort of questions. If I use a photograph as source material, then am I violating copyright? The answer is YES everytime. Even if you treat the photo, distort it and colourise it as Fairey has then you can still get significantly stung a few years down the line.

And to avoid being stung ourselves for copyright violation, the above information was taken from the wonderful and more coherent Petapixel

29th January 2010

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