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Just trying to get some of that sweet, sweet image search traffic

Y’all know what you’re looking at here, right? Thanks to Pablo for the suggestion.

Speaking of nicking pictures off the internet (you don’t think I keep surplus day-old chicks in the kitchen, do you?), they set Shepard Fairey‘s trial date today.

He’s the dude who created the HOPE poster that went viral during the Obama campaign. Problem is, he pinched his photo reference from AP.

There’s much about this case I don’t get. Fairey sued AP first, to establish himself as the author of the work — why would he do that? — so this is the AP countersuit. In the initial case, Fairey claimed it was some other photo he used — but that also belonged to AP, so I don’t get why a) he used that as a defense and b) the fact he was wrong is a legal problem for him.

Incidentally, illustrators nick photos all the time to use as reference (and Photoshoppists live to nick photos). In the days before Google, most professional illustrators kept a clip file — thousands of book and magazine photos cut out and filed away for future reference.

I inherited the kernel of mine from the RISD library, which was clearing out some of its gigantic room-sized clipfile. Mine filled four filing cabinets in its final glory, and it hurt like a bastiche to throw it away.

You’re only supposed to refresh your memory from a file photo, though. If the resemblance of your final illo is recognizably close to the reference, the original owner has a case against you. I don’t think there’s ever been much actual suin’ going on, but it’s a sort of squidgy area of law.

Me, I cheerfully nick photos for blog posts, but never, EVER for something I’m going to sell. That’s not actual legal advice — unless you’re covered under parody or something, it’s equally illegal whether you make money or not — but I figure: no moneys, no incentive.

My general sympathies might be with Fairey on this one — and not just because we went to the same art school — but it turns out he’s a real asshole when other people copy HIS stuff. So I hope he gets his pansy ass kicked.

Final question: with a name like Shepard Fairey, did this guy pretty much have to go to art school?

August 23, 2010 — 10:01 pm
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