One of the things about convergence and the ability for unedited, unfiltered (by traditional means) creativity, is that the long standing power bases, editors and filters will feel threatened, and indeed may be threatened by the new found power of the new bottom up creators. Case in point is the Associated Press’ attack on Shepard Fairey’s iconic image based on an AP image of Barack Obama, and the idea that due to transformation, the new image may be considered original, and the originator of the AP image may just have to realize that good starts are just that, and that collective intelligence applies to images too.
The Associated Press is on the wrong of a fair use argument again. It is actually going after artist Shepard Fairey for his iconic Obama poster, which it recently discovered was based on an AP news photograph by Mannie Garcia. The poster is clearly based on that photograph (see comparison at left), but this is exactly the kind of use of copyrighted works that is meant to be protected.
The poster is art. The image it is based on has been sufficiently transformed that even the AP did not know it owned the copyright to the underlying work until a few weeks ago. And Fairey says he hasn’t made any money from the poster, although others have. You can buy the image on posters, stickers, coffee mugs and T-Shirts, and copies of the poster signed by Fairey sell for thousands of dollars. Still, the AP is wants money from Fairey.