Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Shepard Fairey spills the beans on his Obama art

"You know, I actually don't know who took that photo.."

Two weeks after this interview with Shepard Fairey aired on NPR's Fresh Air I read that AP (Associated Press) is pursuing Fairey for infringing its copyright.

In a preemptive move, Fairey has now fired the first shot over AP's bow by filing a lawsuit to defend his position (Fairey v. The Associated Press, 09-cv-01123, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.)

AP's spokesperson said the lawsuit was a surprise because the company was “in the middle of settlement discussions” and agreed not to sue until these were concluded.

Fair use
vs. Permission So what's the heart of the story? Fairey says his work is protected by the Fair Use statute, which means that individuals can have limited use of copyrighted material for various purposes. AP's business is creating and selling stories that it owns so of course it says that this is poppycock: “The photograph used in the poster is an AP photo, and its use required permission from is crucial to protect photographers, who are creators and artists...Their work should not be misappropriated by others.”

Other experts can't agree. But I think I'll leave it to the Stephen Colbert Report on Comedy Central to decide the fate of the lawsuit.

Legit bootlegger The Smithsonian Gallery has acquired the original campaign poster and now the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston has opened a 20-year retrospective of Fairey’s work until August 16th, 2009.

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