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Shepard-izing Precedent

Over at the Art Law Blog Donn Zaretsky has been keeping an eye out for the Shepard Fairey fair use case with the AP. It seems Shepard has not been very forthcoming with his use of sources in his most famous artwork. And on top of that he has done his level best to cover his tracks while keeping his lawyers in the dark. So, what should have been a case easily tried and more than likely won by Fairey, has become a giant clusterfuck that may be a game changer for the concept of fair use. When concepts of law start down one path and then take a turn down another, original issues of law become clouded and murky. This means that those who follow this decision will have to be VERY SPECIFIC about what they were doing, how they were doing it, and to whom they did it to. Courts in the US have VERY LITTLE PATIENCE for bullshit, and if you’re caught bullshitting, well, let’s just say your chances of being taken seriously will be diminished. Truth in court, and in life for that matter, will always set you free – whether you win or lose. Of course, never volunteer, always wait until you’re asked, and then, be as specific and brief as possible. Hell, that’s just the way it is in court, and that’s what your lawyer will tell you.

Culture Monster figured it would be appropriate to ask Fairey to respond to a line from Bob Dylan’s song, “Absolutely Sweet Marie” — “To live outside the law you must be honest.”
Ain’t that the truth?

One Comment

  1. ep wrote:

    I think a lot of this is hype. It’s very clear which AP photo Fairey used. Artists have always used photography and other sources as a springboard for work – what’s the big deal? You might want to check out William F. Patry (Senior Copyright Counsel at Google) – “Moral Panics and the Copyright War.” He will be speaking at the Smithsonian next month…and featured on the Libraries blog tomorrow…

    Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

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