HOPE Poster | Fairey Copyright case

After reading the Fairey Case, I will conclude that he was wrong and even though he manipulated the photo to a certain extent, he still should’ve credited Mannie Garcia as the source of the photo. When the Garcia Obama photo and the Hope poster are placed side by side, the differences are subtle. Fairey, tried to argue that his case was like Blanch v. Koons, however the setting in which both both forms of media were photographed/created was still on a political platform. Yes, Fairey argued the main purpose of his creation was to help assist the Obama campaign by portraying Obama in a good light, however, this is in essence what Garcia was doing while he stratigically positioned himself and his camera lens to photograph Obama in the angle that he did – to portray Obama as an upstanding presidential candidate. The goals of each author are not far off and are in fact in the same arena. Furthermore, the main fact that Fairey realized he had to cover his tracks and then attributed the source of the photo from the Obama Clooney photo meant that he knew what should’ve been done all along. He purposefully withheld information. I agree with the judge’s ruling that Garcia should recieve a profit of all sales from the Obama photo and if Fairey should continue to use it, he should ask permission.

It was not until reading this case that I realized how important infringement is and incorporating others’ work into your art without giving credit — especially in instances where the work is copyrighted. I honestly thought that once I manipulated the photo to my needs that I no longer needed to give credit because after all, I revised the original piece into my own but I was clearly wrong. Most of the times, the work would not be altered to the extent where the original piece was irrecognizable which is grounds for a lawsuit. Although I’m sure I might be able to argue in most instances that the purpose for which the photo is intended is different from my own, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Moving forward I will be sure to assign credit to other creative work applied in my work. Also, as I prepare to enter the the creative world professionally, I will be assertive and vigilante when it comes to incorporating other creative work into my own.