[Image from TechCrunch.com]
Recognize this image? It was everywhere during the recent presidential campaign. Artist Shepard Fairey created this artwork (right), basing it off of an Associated Press copyrighted image (left).
The AP is suing, asserting that Fairey’s use of the work falls outside the boundaries of fair use and infringes upon the AP’s copyright of the image. But artists reinterpret works all the time, creating new works that fall well within tranformative Fair Use clause. Just think about Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup paintings. Campbell’s claimed copyright infringement against Warhol in the early 1960s, but the suit was dropped later – likely due to the publicity the issue received and because the use could be argued as transformative.
The Stanford Fair Use Project is representing Fairey – it will be interesting to see how this plays out.