Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shepard Fairey poster case gets a whole lot more interesting

The Boston Globe reports:

Controversial street artist Shepard Fairey, who has a major exhibition under way at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, was arrested by Boston police Friday night on graffiti charges.

Fairey, 38, was arrested at about 9:15 p.m. on his way to guest deejay an event attended by hundreds kicking off his exhibition.

Fairey, who attracted the spotlight during the presidential campaign with his iconic red, white, and blue posters of Barack Obama, was arrested on warrants issued for him on Jan. 24 for damage to property due to graffiti, police said.

Police allege that he tagged locations in the Massachusetts Avenue and Newbury Street area and the railroad trestle by the BU Bridge, said department spokesman Officer James Kenneally.

And no, fair use is not a defense to vandalism.

1 comment:

  1. Aw Ben, come on, this has nothing to do with the copyright case; the creation and ownership of his art is a separate (and legally interesting) issue, regardless of whether he "tagged" locations with graffiti.

    I'm interested in your last comment. Can you think of any time in which the First Amendment may prohibit a vandalism charge? What if there were a community "speech" wall, or maybe there's a place where there's been a lot of graffiti that's been "permitted" by officials, even if it's not been specifically permitted by statue or ordinance. Would the selective prosecution of one person based upon the content of the "graffiti" (particularly if the graffiti is political) violate the First Amendment? Certainly "fair use" is not a defense to a criminal statute, but I wonder...


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