Friday, December 23, 2011

Obama Derivative Work or Unlawful Copy?

(Photo by Will Maguire. Dec. 23, 2011.)
A new Obama themed political statement poster appeared today on a street corner in West Los Angeles near my office. This is what it looks like (see above). It is entirely black and white.

Funny thing is... this appears to be a b/w copy or derivative work of an underlying and separate work of art entitled, "Socialism" (aka, the Obama Joker Street Art Poster) that is at least four colors from 2009 which can be viewed below and on the following link.

We do not know if the same ***artist/creator is involved in both of these posters, but if not, then this could well be a case of unlawful copying in violation of the U.S. Copyright Act. Merry Christmas to the creator if he/she registered the underlying work with the U.S. Copyright Office and whereby statutory damages may be available. The Jury is out..... for the holiday... so we will just have to wait and see.

Happy Holidays!

William E. Maguire
Los Angeles, Calif.

*** artist/creator. The artist, Firas Alkhateeb, who created the original (circa 2009) poster art featuring the Obama Joker character was previously identified by the L.A. Times at:

"...Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software."