Friday, April 1, 2011

Reading Post: Week 1

Let's be honest. 

The story about Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope Poster was fascinating.  The current most identifiable symbol of Obama would not have existed if its creator hadn’t remixed its imagery from another artists photo.  Today we have the image in the National Portrait Gallery.  That is just one example for the powerful case for the need of fair use.  In my opinion the poster was changed dramatically from the original photographic source and in no way needed a litigation threat.  We currently live in a more sue happy capitalists society then the one Andy Warhol resided in.  In this day and age Andy would probably be serving jail time for his perpetual and blatant reproductions of Coke bottles, Campbell’s Soup, Brillo, and Mickey Mouse?  An alternative to jail time could be Andy providing a cut of his earnings to the corporations he is drawing inspiration from.  It is safe to say that Andy’s artwork wouldn’t be undercutting the earnings from Coke, Campbell’s Soup or Mickey Mouse.  It drives me a little crazy to know that the people that sued Shepard where just wanting more money in their life.  Let us not forgot that people make careers out of finding ways to make money out of others people work without creating anything themselves.   

The lessons I learned from this weeks reading is if I copy something it must be used appropriately or remixed heavily.  I now have the guidelines to protect or encourage the sharing of my creations.  Great articles!   I’ve could have wrote at length about the numerous topics of copyright, creative commons, and fair use. 

Lincoln image from:


  1. Torrey, I could not agree with you more. Yes, people need to be compensated for their work and recognized for their work, but like you said, is society becoming so crazy that all we want to do is sue people to make money. It seems crazy but true. We should be able to use things and give credit where credit is due. People create these pieces of art to make money I understand, but we need to be able to use those thoughts and ideas to be creative and create other works. I know art and music are pretty similar when it comes to copyright issues. The issues become greater now with the Internet and the accessibility of these art forms.

  2. It is an interesting topic of discussion. Where does the line get drawn between someone who enhances someone's previous work or improves upon it or someone that is seeking profit for someone's creation? Fair Use embodies language that I would suggest that many people neglect or are ignorant to. Is there really anything new that is created today? Or is it derivative of former works in a new form? I'd like to sit in on a court room debate regarding a musical creation.

  3. Or you can avoid the whole mess and just ask permission. In the Fairey case one must remember that he could have asked permission and his motives were not necessarily any less profit motivated than the evil AP. We need a better system and many are greatly disappointed that the case was settled out-of-court. Someone blinked.