Ethics in Graphic Design: Ethics Entry #2

Illustration by Shepard Fairey on Art Institute of Chicago

2. In the second journal entry assignment students will write about whether or not the readings they’ve been assigned have changed their perspective on their own design work.

The copyright issue is always a big topic to talk about, especially in the design industry. Copyright protects original works of authorship and artist. In this essay, I would like to talk about the copyright experience of my first web design job, also my opinion after I read the article Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster case.

a)Students are to reflect on whether, in the past, they have used another’s creative work and how have they given that artist credit?

On my first web designer job, my supervisor told me the incident relates to copyright. She told me that one time her web designer used someone’s free artwork from the website Freepik for the company landing page which was commercial use. A few months later, she got into a lawsuit because of the one artwork. She didn’t tell me the details of the story. However, she showed me how to credit the author by adding the attribute link. First I use an HTML attribute tag (<a>) to paste the author’s link and include this attribute tag in the paragraph tag (<p>) to give the author credit. For me, this lesson is very useful, I learn the important thing from someone’s experience. 

b) Students are to give their opinion of the arguments and outcome of the Fairey Copyright case.

In my opinion, the settlement is fair, According to the reading, Fairey has agreed not to use any AP photos in his artwork with first obtaining a license. Both Fairey and AP share rights to sell the “Hope” image and make profits from it. First of all, Fairey made a lot of editing from the original photos. Mannie Garcia is definitely a professional photojournalist and the original photo was a masterpiece; however,  Fairey is the one who made the photo famous. Without his design and Obama Hope campaign, I guess not that many people will see this photo. I guess AP just wants to get a piece of the pie from Fairey. But one thing I would like to point out is that Fairey shouldn’t lie about the reference of the photo. People thought the reference photo was Garcia Clooney instead of Garcia Obama. I guess that is where the argument came from.

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