Yay now everyone can finally get along!
The street artist Shepard Fairey and The Associated Press have settled their long-running legal battle over the well-known “Hope” campaign poster of Barack Obama.
…Mr. Fairey, who sued The Associated Press in 2009 as it began to accuse him of copyright infringement for using one of its photographs as the basis for the poster, said that he did not appropriate any copyrightable material and that his use of the photograph, which showed Mr. Obama looking up pensively, constituted fair use under copyright law.
…Because of the issues at stake and the high visibility of the parties involved, the case had shined a spotlight on the tricky legal issues surrounding the fair-use exceptions to copyright protections. One of the central questions was whether Mr. Fairey’s creation, which became ubiquitous on street corners and T-shirts during and after Mr. Obama’s campaign, constituted a “transformative” use of the photograph, a use that is allowed under the law so that creative expression is not stifled. (via NYT)
Why should musicians care?
Well the world of Fair Use copyright law is important for modern musicians. Samples have become ubiquitous in modern music, and Girl Talk and other mashup artists use other people’s music exclusively to create their own new sounds.
Beat makers, electronic artists, rappers, and all new sound makers will most likely brush up against the world of copyright law and fair use in their time. So when people are sued for copyright infringement you should take note.