The L.A. Times‘ “Culture Monster” column is takes on an ironic meaning today, as they note, “Shepard Fairey admits to wrongdoing in Associated Press lawsuit.”
Ann Althouse adds:
To make the poster he needed to “reference” — his verb — a photo of Obama, and now he wants to defend that use under the Copyright Law. To promote the acceptance of a broad definition of “fair use,” it would help if he were thought of as a good guy — the artist, who should be supported in his creative endeavors and given access to the raw materials that he uses for the general benefit of society. And now we see that he has infected his repution with wrongdoing:
“Throughout the case, there has been a question as to which Mannie Garcia photo I used as a reference to design the HOPE image,” Fairey said. “The AP claimed it was one photo, and I claimed it was another.”
New filings to the court, he said, “state for the record that the AP is correct about which photo I used…and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong. In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images.”
In February, the AP claimed that Fairey violated copyright laws when he used one of their images as the basis for the poster. In response, the artist filed a lawsuit against the AP, claiming that he was protected under fair use. Fairey also claimed that he used a different photo as the inspiration for his poster.
The copyright issue itself should remain the same, and it’s an important one indeed. It’s a damned shame that the banner for expansive fair use is being carried by someone who was dishonest and who tried to play the legal system. Why is he admitting his deception now? Presumably, he knew the manipulations would come to light one way or the other, and it was a strategic decision to reveal it this way.
But like the invented Rush Limbaugh quotes, and RatherGate, if Rather hadn’t been caught so quickly, Fairey’s work is done — he took a calculated risk that legal issues — if any — would befall him long after the election, or long after his image went viral.
But hey, it’s just another way you too can earn big money the NEA Way…