Tag Archives: Obama

Icon icon: “I conned”

Hope this is fair use!

Hope this is fair use!

Shepard Fairey, he of the icon con, is about to be the other kind of con — the “vict” kind, as Jim Treacher explains:

By his own admission. If you know anything about the career of this talentless plagiarist, I hope the following news is as satisfying for you as it is for me. NYT:

The street artist Shepard Fairey, whose “Hope” campaign poster of Barack Obama became an enduring symbol of his last presidential campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge stemming from his misconduct in trying to bolster claims in a lawsuit over which photograph had been used as a basis for the poster.

Mr. Fairey, 42, sued The Associated Press in 2009 after it contended he had infringed on the copyright of one of its photographs in creating the poster. Mr. Fairey had claimed in his suit that he had used a different photograph of Mr. Obama, but later admitted that he had been mistaken and had tried to conceal his mistake, by destroying documents and fabricating others…  

Obey the "Hypocrite"'s Lawyers!
Obey the “Hypocrite”‘s Lawyers!

Mr. Fairey, of Los Angeles, pleaded to one count of criminal contempt and could face up to six months in prison. 

Note that this possible jail time isn’t for creating the poster, but for lying to the court in a lawsuit he filed. The Daily Telegraph has more details:

Fairey “went to extreme lengths to obtain an unfair and illegal advantage in his civil litigation, creating fake documents and destroying others in an effort to subvert the civil discovery process,” US Attorney [Preet] Bharara said in a statement…

Says Treacher:  “Fairey’s ego was threatened, and he didn’t think the rules that apply to everybody else should apply to him. So he hit back hard and lied outrageously in the process.”  Sounds like a pretty average day in litigation, only Shepard Fairey’s enemies were high-profile enough for his behavior to get him in big trouble — a condition he brought, quite deservedly, on himself.

(Hat tip to Instapundit.)

Obama-Biden on IP

Biden: Unoriginal views about piracy

Do IP lawyers and other aficionados of the abstract estate vote for presidential candidates based on their IP policies? That would be sick. But if you want to factor that into your choice, I’ve blogged somewhat about the present President’s IP enforcement policies (hint:  which candidate does Hollywood support?) (right?) a number of times.

Obama: Knows from infringement

A good, up-to-date treatment of at least one aspect of the Obama Administration’s IP policy would be this piece by Joe Satran.  Excerpt:

On Aug. 28, the Republican Party announced it had included language about Internet freedom and intellectual property protection in its 2012 platform, becoming the first major party to do so. Former Sen. Chris Dodd, now head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), swiftly came out in support. A week later, the Democratic Party became the second party to do so when it revealed it had included even more strident language about the value of IP in the digital age. Dodd endorsed the Democratic platform as well.

You’d never think that IP protection was a radioactive political issue barely eight months ago. Back in January 2012, President Barack Obama seemed to oppose harsh penalties for digital piracy of copyrighted movies and music. He came out against two hotly debated anti-piracy bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), helping to secure their defeat in the Senate and House. And it just so happens that January 2012 was the only month in which most Americans were paying attention to IP issues, so many people got a false impression of his administration’s views on the matter. . . .

President Obama [had earlier] appointed IP lawyer Victoria Espinel as the first-ever intellectual property enforcement coordinator. Espinel, who had earlier served as the chief U.S. trade official for IP issues, got to work quickly. Just days after she took office in December 2009, she convened a large meeting of government officials and representatives from companies in IP-intensive industries, especially the entertainment business, at the White House.

“At this huge meeting, the vice president himself said to all these IP stakeholders, ‘I want to hear from you. I want to know what your problems are. I want to know what the government can do to assist you,'” Jean Bonilla, director of the State Department’s Office of International Intellectual Property Enforcement, told The Huffington Post.

Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance at that meeting was no anomaly. As a senator, he had been known for vigorous advocacy of strong IP protections; he was the co-founder of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus and a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which handles copyright issues and interacts frequently with lobbyists from the entertainment industry. “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone on that committee who isn’t a strong supporter of IP protections,” said Gigi Sohn, the president of Public Knowledge, which advocates for “balanced copyright policies that benefit creators and users.” . . . Read More…

“We cannot allow our brand to be abused”

Originally posted on November 13, 2008.

What “brand” is that?

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brand. The greed of the King “branders” was one of the earliest, and is still one of the most popular, posts on LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®, and it’s rearing its really unbecoming head once again in light of “the sudden wave of T-shirts, posters and other merchandise depicting the civil rights leader alongside Barack Obama”:

Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King’s nephew and head of the nonprofit King Center in Atlanta, said the estate is entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees — maybe even millions.

“Some of this is probably putting food on people’s plates. We’re not trying to stop anybody from legitimately supporting themselves,” he said, “but we cannot allow our brand to be abused.”

Their BRAND?  Wow — in 40 years from “I have a dream” to “”We cannot allow our brand to be abused.”

As the legend on the image at right says, “that change is gonna come.”  Bills, checks and credit cards gonna come, too.

Is that really the Promised Land?


Hope this is fair use!

Hope this is fair use!

Last week it was the O-Team preparing for lightning raids on Obama-brand-equity rustlers.  But maybe the Obama Administration needs to set its own  White House  house in order, as the AP reports that the AP is coming after President Obama for its piece of icon pie.  It turns out that The Image is based on, well, someone else’s image:

Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.

The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.

The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees.

“The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission,” the AP’s director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement.

“AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey’s attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution.”

“We believe fair use protects Shepard’s right to do what he did here,” says Fairey’s attorney, Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a lecturer at the Stanford Law School. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment beyond that at this time because we are in discussions about this with the AP.”

Yes, the question of photo-into-artwork is a longstanding and dicey one in copyright law.  There is the issue of fair use, and of whether the new work is “transformative.”  This particular application of the question is discussed thoughtfully here, here and here.

This should be settled, though.  The President really kind of has his hands full already, you know?

UPDATE from Randazza (via @gfiremark):

Apparently Shepard Fairey lied to his lawyers about which photo of Barack Obama formed the basis for his iconic HOPE poster. (source) The sad thing is, it shouldn’t matter. The poster is clearly fair use.