Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama Image: Copyright Infringement?

Apparently the now famous poster designed by artist Shepard Fairey is being alleged by the Associated Press to be copyright infringement based on the 2006 file photo of then-Sen. Barack Obama by Associated Press photographer Manny Garcia at the National Press Club in Washington. What are your thoughts on this issue?

The full story can be found here -AP alleges copyright infringement of Obama image.

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Pascal said...

What I have been told by an artist-friend is that you are allowed to base your drawing/painting upon a photography. Many painters use photos as inspiration. The finished painting is another medium and so it is an art of its own. It´s the first time I have heard that this is not allowed...

amy said...

I'm curious to see how the fair use rules stretch, or not, to cover this. I imagine the specific production method will play an important role.

It's one thing to use a photograph to inspire your painting with a brush onto a canvas, for instance. But you might not get away with that if you took a piece of onionskin and actually traced over the photograph to create your own work.

What if this photo was digitally imported into an application and the pixels themselves were used as the basis for the design?

That is a different scenario.

Which begs the question: just how many filters does it take to go beyond the reach of photo copyright laws? What percentage of pixel change? Who measures it... and how?