What a busy couple of weeks for artist of the moment Shepard Fairey, one arrest and a copyright dispute over his now world famous image of Barrack Obama.
On the 24th January the famous street artist was arrested in Boston for the illegal tagging of private property in two separate locations, Fairey had been in Boston for two weeks where he had been installing his exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and creating outdoor art including a 20-by-50 foot banner on the side of City Hall.
Fairey had decided to take a break from hanging the exhibit and hang posters around the town wheat-pasting them to the sides of buildings with a local Boston artist and a small film crew who were documenting it as they went along. All of the crew and both of the artist’s were arrested by the police in an alleyway around midnight and charged with ‘interference and posting unauthorised posters’
This is not the first time that Shepard Fairey has been in trouble with the law, with a career spanning over 20 years he has managed to rack up 14 tagging related arrests and unless threatened with jail time has no plans to give up.
To make matters worse his now iconic Obama image has become subject of a copyright dispute with The Associated Press. The image has been sold on hundreds of thousand stickers, posters and T-shirts around the world.
“The Associate Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use requires permission”
Fairey argues his use of the AP photo is protected by “fair use” which allows exception to copyright laws based on, among other factors, how much of the original image is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is effected by the work.
Whatever the outcome to this dispute it will only continue to promote the art of one of our generation’s greatest street artists.
Image 1:Photos: Manuel Bello, Dan Flores, and Kyle Oldoerp. http://www.monoscope.com/2007/09/shepard_fairey_interview.html