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Fair Use Cont.: New Book Out on Che as a Brand

April 21, 2009
Books of The Times


Brand Che: Revolutionary as Marketer’s Dream

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CHE’S AFTERLIFE

The Legacy of an Image

By Michael Casey

Illustrated. 388 pages. Vintage Books. $15.95.

Che Lives!

Not just in the hearts of revolutionaries, Marxist insurgents and rebellious teenagers, but on T-shirts, watches, sneakers, key chains, cigarette lighters, coffee mugs, wallets, backpacks, mouse pads, beach towels and condoms. He’s not only been used by politicians like the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, to promote their own agendas, but he’s also been employed by merchants to sell air fresheners in Peru, snowboards in Switzerland and wine in Italy.

The supermodel Gisele Bündchen pranced down a runway in a Che bikini. A men’s wear company brought out a Che action figure, complete with fatigues, a beret, a gun and a cigar. And an Australian company produced a “cherry Guevara” ice cream line, describing the eating experience like this: “The revolutionary struggle of the cherries was squashed as they were trapped between two layers of chocolate. May their memory live on in your mouth!”

Angles on Fair Use

I'm catching this conversation late; the initial discussion about fair use began in December 2007. Where the hell was I? Well, Fairey had yet to make any ripples with the Obama HOPE piece, so I had no reason to throw this into the Legal Dept. Now that Fairey and AP are battling out the legalities of "fair use" (I use quotations because codifying things can always be a bit sticky), Phantom Street Artist has also thrown his hat in the ring on this, bringing another angle to the onging narrative of re-use, street art, advertising, capitalism, etc.

I admit that I miss things here and there. I'm not online enough!

I'm trying to keep my opinions to myself. Blame it on my journalistic integrity. I can say a few things: I'm glad that people are bringing up these issues, though Fairey has been re-using images and icons for years. I've never compared and contrasted the original radical/political art side-by-side with Fairey's work until now, and am a bit disappointed at how uncreative he comes off. And, like you all don't know this: Fairey is an A Number One Hustler. So much so that OBEY is now a booming brand and he's one of the most famous street artists in the world. I heard that he makes people pay to sign the Obama HOPE posters. ka-ching!

OK, enough of my opinions. How about some thoughts from other folks*:

Mark Vallen wrote this in Dec. 2007, before things REALLY blew up for Fairey. Lincoln Cushing, Josh MacPhee, and Favianna Rodriguez helped him.

Josh MacPhee commented further after Vallen's post over on Just Seeds

Here's a re-telling of Phantom Street Artists's beef(s) with Fairey in March 2009

*I also encourage you to read all the comments at the bottom of these posts. Someone in France wrote about it, and other artists had things to add to this ongoing conversation.

Shepard Speaks: AP Takes Art for Fair Use Too

SF Chron: Graffiti judged low priority in S.F.

Graffiti judged low priority in S.F.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Five years ago, Gideon Kramer was thrilled to be appointed to San Francisco's graffiti advisory board.

"I really thought I could make a difference," the graphic designer and 30-year city resident said Friday.

SF Chron: Has it come to jail time to wipe out graffiti?

Has it come to jail time to wipe out graffiti?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Like the city of San Francisco, North Beach resident Micki Jones is fighting a losing battle against graffiti.

"I paint it over and it is usually tagged again in 48 hours," said Jones, who covers up graffiti on her home and other buildings on her block. "It used to be weeks, but now those guys are out there every night."

AP countersues artist over famous Obama posters

NEW YORK (AP) - The Associated Press has countersued an artist over his famous campaign posters of President Barack Obama. The AP says the image's uncredited, uncompensated use of an AP photo signals a threat to journalism.

Shepard Fairey Expects New Charges in Boston - AP

Obama Poster Artist Shepard Fairey Expects New Charges In Boston

RUSSELL CONTRERAS | March 10, 2009 06:03 PM EST |
AP

BOSTON
— The street artist who created the famous "Hope" poster of President Barack Obama expects to face new vandalism charges relating to the red, white and blue image, but his lawyer said Tuesday that the accusations would cover a period of time when the artist wasn't even in Boston.

The artist, Shepard Fairey, and prosecutors went before a clerk magistrate in Brighton District Court on Tuesday. The hearing was closed to the public, but Fairey's attorney, Jeffrey Wiesner, said police asked the clerk magistrate for permission to charge Fairey with illegally posting his Obama images in Boston's Allston neighborhood
between Nov. 25 and Dec. 25.

Art turns ugly in squabble over 'Hope'

Art turns ugly in squabble over 'Hope'

Friday, February 13, 2009

(02-12) 18:45 PST --

Artist Shepard Fairey says that he has distributed more than 300,000 copies of his iconic poster of President Obama with the word "Hope" written underneath and that it has inspired countless other versions. Now, the 38-year-old Los Angeles street artist, who says he used an Associated Press photograph as a "visual reference" for his piece, is in the middle of a copyright battle that goes to the heart of how media is made, remixed and mashed up.

Given the notoriety of Fairey's iconic poster, "it is kind of the perfect storm," said Michael Kwun, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco digital advocacy organization. "It raises questions about what we as a culture and a legal society feel is proper."

First Poster Boy, Now Shepard Fairey: Watch Out at Art Openings

Shepard Fairey Arrested In Boston

JAY LINDSAY | February 7, 2009 08:30 PM EST |
AP

 

BOSTON — A street artist famous for his red, white and blue "Hope" posters of President Obama has been arrested on warrants accusing him of tagging property with graffiti, police said Saturday.

Shepard Fairey was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art for a kickoff event for his first solo exhibition, called "Supply and Demand."

Poster Boy Arrested in NYC

New York street artist Poster Boy arrested by police

Mysterious figure's work was featured throughout the city's subway system

For a street artist whose work is scrupulously shrouded in anonymity to evade detection by the NYPD, Poster Boy's comeuppance resulted from a puzzlingly sloppy lowering of his guard.

The anti-consumerist guerrilla artist, dubbed New York's Banksy, was picked up by plain clothed officers on Saturday at an art show in the SoHo area of
Manhattan, his presence at the event having been openly proclaimed on a fly leaflet.

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