Artist Shepard Fairey has been instrumental in bringing George Orwell’s influential and classic work of dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four to Imagine Entertainment and production company LBI. If greenlit, the artist could receive producer credit.
Last month, Fairey plead guilty to charges of criminal contempt of court for destroying documents and manufacturing evidence related to AP’s lawsuit against him. That suit dealt with the unlicensed appropriation of Mannie Garcia’s photograph of Barak Obama for the iconic “Hope” poster. Fairey now faces fines and jail time.
As part of the lawsuit settlement, which included an undisclosed sum, Fairey agreed to license any AP photos he may wish to use in future art work. Additionally, both the AP and Fairey will share the rights to create merchandise based on the image–and that means the profits from those items. Fairey recently voiced a parody of himself on an episode of The Simpson’s, “Exit Through the Kwik_E-Mart” playing a street artist who is actually a police informant.
First published in 1949, Orwell’s book has twice been given cinematic treatment, first in 1956 and then, appropriately enough, in 1984. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell coined terms like Big Brother, thought crime, New Speak, thought police and doublethink, now in common usage. And “Orwellian” has come to mean a totalitarian, secretive, manipulative, overbearing and controlling regime.
In America, Nineteen Eighty-Four is often invoked as a cautionary tale in order to cast the politicians of either or both parties in unfavorable light. The book however, makes the point that there is only one party.