by Mike Hansen
Is this stealing, or a fair re-interpretation of another’s work? Well…
After Mike Mayhew, David Mack, and Greg Land (among others) got caught swiping, Marvel updated its contracts to say that the artists assert that their work is wholly original (as a way to cover Marvel’s ass).
The Associated Press definitely does NOT have a sense of humor about this; it’s pursued legal action against news aggregator sites and blogs that quote from its articles.
And ALL comics artists need to be paying attention to what’s happening to Shepard Fairey, who might face JAIL TIME for lying about his source for his Obama “Hope” poster.
Now, I’m of the opinion that the principle of Fair Use needs to be redefined in the strongest possible terms to take back some of the ground that copyright holders have seized. But the Law isn’t on artists’ sides right now. Even though ALL art reflects and borrows from other sources of inspiration, moneyed interests are going to fight tooth and nail to keep every inch of ground they think they own.
I’d hope that the President and his administration would speak out in favor of Fair Use and Creative Commons, considering how the HOPE poster helped Barack Obama get elected, instead of allowing the Feds to put Fairey in jail. You know, show a bit of gratitude? But I really don’t see that happening.
After the recent stink about artists publishing and selling sketchbooks, and the tragic Gary Friedrich/Ghost Rider dust-up, artists need to watch their asses. I don’t care if the current Marvel regime says it’s going to look the other way (sometimes); it’s not worth the chance that an artist could get sued. Marvel’s ass is covered, but the artists are going to be left out to dry.
The thing is, most of these artists don’t NEED to swipe at all. They’re talented storytellers in their own right, who have come to the mistaken assumption that they can keep getting away with stealing as a shortcut. I wish this wasn’t a big deal, but right now it is.
Wake up, guys. Shit’s getting real.
- Shepard Fairey faces prison over Obama “Hope” poster (rt.com)
- Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty in “Hope” Poster Case (lafiga.firedoglake.com)
- Shepard Fairey Could Face Jail Time for Obama Hope Poster Design News 02.27.12 (apartmenttherapy.com)
- On Swiping and Photo Ref and Where The Line Is (newsarama.com)