UPDATE: We’re Changing the date for Fair Use in Art and Craft Day to May 1st, so we all have more time to work on our projects.

Tonight I was talking to my brother about the recent revelation that the AP is suing Shepard Fairey over his derivative use of one of their photos in creating his iconic HOPE poster. We were both upset at what is obviously an attack on fair use. (I wrote about fair use last spring, and there’s a nice article explaining it on the Stanford University web site. Essentially it is part of copyright law that allows limited use of others’ copyrighted work). We feel that Fairey’s poster is a clear example of the Transformative Factor of fair use. Here’s a description of that factor from the Stanford University Web Site.

  • Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?
  • Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings?In a parody, for example, the parodist transforms the original by holding it up to ridicule. Purposes such as scholarship, research or education may also qualify as transformative uses because the work is the subject of review or commentary.

EXAMPLE: Roger borrows several quotes from the speech given by the CEO of a logging company. Roger prints these quotes under photos of old-growth redwoods in his environmental newsletter. By juxtaposing the quotes with the photos of endangered trees, Roger has transformed the remarks from their original purpose and used them to create a new insight. The copying would probably be permitted as a fair use.

(Photo of Fairey poster Flickr by user Steve Rhodes, CC, Some Rights Reserved.)

We’re hoping a groundswell of support for fair use and Fairey might be created by actually exercising fair use. So we’re inviting you to do just that:

On May 1st post to Flickr, your blog, facebook or anywhere else, a picture of art or craft you created exercising the transformative factor of fair use in the spirit of Shepard Fairey.

What can you do until then?

  • Work on your craft or art
  • Spread the word by linking, or tweeting to this blog post. (Here’s a short sentence you can easily tweet):Creating transformative work for Celebrate Fair Use in Art and Craft Day: May 1st, 2009. http://tinyurl.com/fairday

  • Sign up for the facebook event.
Announcing Celebrate Fair Use in Art and Craft Day