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Most unsatisfactory

Hello. Remember this guy? This is a mug shot of Shepard Fairey, the HOPE poster dude. And the Feds want him to do time in federal pound me in the ass prison.

The Associated Press took him to court for tracing the Obama picture used in the poster, which belonged to AP. You’ll find the court docs at the link. I gather (though I am no law-talking weasel), the main points are:

But the Feds are opting to ignore all that. They want him to do time for deleting some emails and fabricating others trying to game the case.

Sure. Okay. Fair enough. Coverup worse than the crime and all that, but leaving the whole rest of it unaddressed is really unsatisfactory. Because I (and millions like me) do what he did, every day — snag news photos, P’shop all over them and post them on the web. It’s a whole cottage industry. And we would really like some guidelines here.

How strong was the AP’s claim? Would any amount of artsy transformation weaken that claim? Did the fact Fairey made a shitload of money make a legal difference? They brought all these questions up, and then left them dangling.

Years ago, when I made art for a big corporation with deep pockets, I wouldn’t go NEAR anyone else’s copyrighted content. Not even for the most ephemeral images. The very idea gave me the shivers. And for the longest time, I wouldn’t do it as a blogger, either. And then I realized everyone — EVERYONE — was having a blast P’shopping photos and nobody was going to federal pound me in the ass prison and I was totally left out of the fun. So I gave in.

But there’s still that worried corner of my mind that knows everybody else does it is a lousy legal defense.

Okay. Back here. Tomorrow. Six sharp, WBT. Round Bzillion of the Dead Pool!

September 6, 2012 — 11:05 pm
Comments: 16