I came across some screencaps from John Carpenter’s 1988 They Live over at the excellent I love Hotdogs blog today (you may remember ILHD from the film titles post) and was immediately struck by the “Obey” scenes. Looks pretty familiar right? Cool to see the inspiration for Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant campaign, looks like a terrible movie though. Although Roddy Piper cameos are always welcome.
It was only a matter of time I guess. It seems like we just learned the source of Shepard Fairey’s iconic image for the Obama campaign and now Fairey himself is being sued by Associated Press for his appropriation of the image. This is when sorting out exactly what qualifies as “fair use” starts to get a little tricky. Fairey says he didn’t make any money from the image (frankly, I don’t see how that’s possible, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), but AP alleges he made a boatload of it. Whatever the case may be, credit is due to the original photographer, but I don’t believe Fairey should be held liable for his use of the image. I think it could be — and hopefully will be — successfully argued that Fairey modified the image sufficiently. What do you think, does vecotrizing and coloring an image go far enough to differentiate the artistic product from the source? Sound off in the comments.
Update: Supertouch has posted a sort of official response to the general criticism Fairey has endured of late. Definitely worth a read if you took the time to read all the detractor’s sites.
Image via stevesimula