New Journal Page and Something To Think About

Obama

Here's a new journal page for this week. It's been busy around here. Teaching. Looking for a new house. Playing catch up. Speaking to a group of freshmen at the University of Colorado for my friend, Sue, the career whisperer. But I had one day at home and escaped to the studio for a little journaling time. 

I like this page with our new President, caught in moment of repose (by a Time Magazine photog) just before he stepped out onto the world stage at his inauguration. I like the fact that he is a man who would (and could) take a deep breath and moment of quiet repose before stepping out…there is hope. Another prayer for protection.

The quote is from Reverand Joseph Lowry's benediction at the inauguration…"We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love. Let all those who do justice and love mercy say: Amen."

Now the something to think about part. Last week I heard a story on NPR I thought I'd share. To hear it in full you can go here. It's about fair use or infringement in the use of images. It seems that Shepard Fairey used an Associated Press photo for his now famous image of Barak Obama shaded in red and blue, with the word hope or progress printed beneath it. The AP is in a bit of a snit and wants credit and compensation. In this story NPR's Melissa Block interviews Margaret Esquenet, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property issues, about what fair use means. Since many of use other people's images and photographs in our collage art, I thought I'd run these ideas by you:

The fair use defense has four points to consider - 

1. Is the work used commercially or is it for non-profit use and is the work transformative – did the artist do something different to the original that makes it substantially different – did they use it as a "point of departure."

2. Was the original work factual or creative. 

3. How much of the orignial was taken, both qualatatively and quantatatively.

4. The financial impact of the existence of the allegedly infringing work on the original. 

The Associated Press contends that Shepard Fairey is making money off their image. Shepard Fairey counters that he used an image that was in the public domain, for a non-profit purpose and that he only used the image as a "point of departure". And the "point of departure" seems to be one of the key elements of fair use. So when you are using someone else's image, keep these points in mind. 

I'm pretty sure Time Magazine is not coming after me for using their photo in my journal page, but it's good to think about how we incorporate other's work into own. I'm just sayin' – it's something to think about.

5 Responses to New Journal Page and Something To Think About

  1. aimee says:

    hi, fran! i hadn’t stopped by your beautiful blog for a while so i thought i’d take a quick peek and catch up. and i’m so glad i did today! i just finished a big collage project and was thinking about this very issue. i’m always nervous i’ll impinge on someone’s copyright with collage work, so i keep those pieces for personal use and for gifts just to play it safe. great post and thanks for sharing the story! aimee

  2. stephanie says:

    It’s a tough one Fran…I’ve been thinking about it too. Copy right is always a tricky path with art. Lots of good food for thought here….let’s do it over a glass of wine.

  3. Gwen says:

    This is a great page, and an interesting issue you bring up. I have been following it, too. One of my “best” pieces of work has a large face from the advert. for Memoirs of a Geisha, and so I really can’t use it. It is altered, but very recognizable. Live and learn…

  4. Chris says:

    Yes, thank you for this information. I’ve been so busy I didn’t have time to do what I would normally do and follow up on what was happening with that. And mostly, it irked me that I’m behind on your blog. Anyway, I feel (from my emotional side) that we should take seriously our ability and intention of making our own images and creating completely original pieces. However, from my pragmatic side, I just know that if Fairey hadn’t had this completely original take on a static image and if it hadn’t resonated therefore, with millions of people, and made millions of dollars, the AP wouldn’t have cared what he did with it.

    back to more of your blog.

    Oh, by the way, HOW did you do that fantastic lettering on your journal page?! You rock.

  5. Lisa Hoffman says:

    This is the crucial, tail chasing issue. I’ve been hearing every possible side of this story for YEARS. It’s always a great subject to bring up if a party gets a tiny bit dull…..

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