Shepard Fairey OBEY Gun Control Troll Poster

Troll harder Fairey:


This guy!  He’s trying to be the Andy Warhol of our generation, and I suppose it’s paying off handsomly for him… but seriously his ideas are all “meh”.  Take this for instance… use contrasting colors and saying ASSAULT WEAPONS AND OMG HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES are an investment of satan.  Also, is that an AK-47 with AR parts on it? an ARAK-15 perhaps?  Sweet Krinkov flash suppressor bro.

Another question I have, is did he just go and throw the letters NRA on the poster without giving a single?  The NRA obviously has a registered trademark on that, so technically unless they gave Fairey explicit permission to use their brand in his propaganda he could get in deep shit.  I can’t just throw the letters NRA on a t-shirt for instance unless I was looking for trouble.  I emailed my contact at the NRA, so I’ll update you guys when I hear back from her.

If you want to read all the facebook comments on this poster and Fairey’s deep “purpose” statement about the artwork the posts are HERE and HERE.


Hat tip: Mike



Sardaukar April 26, 2013 at 02:58 am

Oh good lord in heavens. That muzzle device on that firearm! This is truly the work of Satan!

PP April 26, 2013 at 03:35 am

SR-47 maybe?

PP April 26, 2013 at 03:38 am

Oooh. I did a little more digging; lookie what RRA will be making:

Michael April 26, 2013 at 03:36 am

It doesn’t even make sense. So the NRA is a peace dove rising phoenix like that is being targeted by these evil assault weapons? It attempts symbolism but doesn’t understand it.

Dan April 26, 2013 at 03:44 am

“If you want to read all the facebook comments on this poster and Fairey’s deep “purpose” statement about the artwork …”

I would, but I have better things to do with my time than catch up on a whiny anti artist’s feelings. Like…well, anything but that.

ErnestThing April 26, 2013 at 04:03 am

Yeah… so, I have this shirt by the same artist:

Soooo… pro gun or anti gun? Or anti NRA? Or just confused?

cc19 April 26, 2013 at 10:24 am

Cake tastes best when you can have it too.

Michael Curtis April 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Simple, they are Pro-getting-morons-to-pay-for-merchandise-that-they-believe-help-define-themselves-yet-miss-the-irony-of-their-conformity-it-buying-the-same-shit-everyone-else-buys

This isn’t new, people have been labeling themselves, collecting art, and other like silliness to define their particular idealism or (what happens more often) the idealism that they believe their peer group possess.

Its like a shirt that someone buys decrying the exportation of job….. and the shirt is made in china.

He thinks that people will buy his mindless drivel about the NRA because people have already bought his mindless drivel about tyrants and his inability to spell.

Ya want to rebel against the system, stop paying to wear the systems shitty clothes.

BmielB April 26, 2013 at 04:35 am

Hate to give the artist too much credit but judging by the fixtures under the handuard just forward of the magwell this AR/AK looks to be an MGI Hydra. The fixtures being the barrel retaining arms. With a few tweaks to the words on the painting this could be an effective retro style MGI Hydra ad. perfect for a print media magazine.

EveryoneLovesTheAR April 26, 2013 at 05:50 am

You are right! It must be the MGI. I was thinking it but didn’t even notice the fixtures you pointed out.

Etaoin Shrdlu April 26, 2013 at 05:06 am

Krink brake, AK magazine, AR barrel and handguards. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he watched “Cat Shit One” and saw Packy’s AR-47 (I think I read somewhere that Knight’s is the manufacturer).

BTW, you need to study up on your trademark law, dude. Sorry, it doesn’t work the way you think. There are any number of exceptions that the poster might fall under, whether trademark fair use, the acronym not being used as a source designation, political commentary (really a copyright issue, but still). . . .

ENDO-Mike April 26, 2013 at 07:34 am

So he can make a poster and sell prints and make lots of money off them with the NRA name on them, without permission? Considering the context is firearms, there is zero doubt that NRA stands for National Rifle Association. What you’re basically saying is that I could put a grenade design on a t-shirt with a Glock logo or name on it and the lawyers at Glock would get a LOL out of it and leave me alone because it was just a joke; that would never happen.

Tim April 26, 2013 at 07:43 am

Logos and names are treated differently in some respects, and your description of a Glock t-shirt doesn’t describe any sort of parody or commentary.

Whether or not you think he’s doing a decent job of making commentary, that’s clearly his intent, and that protects him, at least a bit.

ENDO-Mike April 26, 2013 at 07:45 am

The parody would be playing off people’s fear and joking that Glocks explode. Another good example I think would be the COEXIST in firearm logos design the logos are being used as components of a whole parody, but I have a hard time imagining selling stickers or putting that on a t-shirt would be legal. Thoughts?

Tim April 26, 2013 at 08:02 am

Hmm I see what you mean.
I’d guess there would be some sort of reasonableness test – ie; would your average person recognize it as a parody/commentary. I’m totally blowing smoke here, so I could be way off base, but that’s my thought.

As for the Coexist logo, I know I’ve seen those stickers in the wild, so apparently somebody’s making them. Whether or not the manufacturers would have standing to sue… I’d lean towards no, but it’s hard to say for sure – most of this stuff is case law, not book law.

I’d guess the argument that would be made in favor of the Coexist sticker would be that there are so many logos that it’s obvious it’s not made/endorsed by any of them – that and the way they’re arranged make it clear that it’s not a manufacturer’s doing – it’s fairly obvious that it’s art, if that makes sense.

The more I think about it, the more I’d lean towards saying your hypothetical Glock shirt would pass muster too. Of course, you might get sued anyway, even if it is legal, just because companies often initiate proceedings they know the other guy can’t afford as a way of stopping actions they don’t like.

BBJones April 26, 2013 at 09:09 am

Bird Law expert here.

Fair Use” probably applies here but it is a 4 factored test. The first factor emphasizes the transformative nature of the use. It is the most important factor and in this case the juxtaposition of the NRA acronym with the satire below will most likely pass the test. See here to learn more:

Doesn’t stop the NRA from suing but if the test was ever applied they would most likely lose.

BBJones April 26, 2013 at 09:11 am

doh ignore. Tim did more research below.

somelawtalkingdude April 26, 2013 at 06:06 pm

IP lawyer here. Yeah, none of the things you list are actual things or applicable.

It would be interesting to see the artist argue, “but your honor, I should be allowed to use another organization’s trademark in my copyrighted art that I sell for profit because FIRST AMENDMENT!” (As I recall, this artist has already lost a derivative works copyright infringement claim.)

Tim April 26, 2013 at 08:45 pm

Well, I didn’t know what I was talking about. :D
Glad to have that confirmed – is fair use strictly applicable to copyright infringement then?

somelawtalkingdude April 27, 2013 at 04:23 am

Yes, so if he copied text from the NRA website, he would argue fair use.

Tim April 27, 2013 at 06:24 am

Sure that makes sense. Are there any legal defenses for using someone else’s logotype in your product while making money from the sale of said product?

Matt April 26, 2013 at 05:42 am
ENDO-Mike April 26, 2013 at 07:34 am

ahahhaha yea that’s more like it!

SLUG36 April 26, 2013 at 06:03 am

what’s the deal with the Krink booster and AK mag on that AR??

dave w April 26, 2013 at 06:13 am

So God saves assault weapons and high capacity magazines?
Woohoo, i’m a god!

Franz April 26, 2013 at 06:15 am

Pretentious artist trying to make a statement about something he is truly ignorant about.

Also known as a man with his head up his butt.

Franz April 26, 2013 at 06:18 am

I am also courious about the artist theology, does he have one, or is he invoking the name of God to make a political point?

Tim April 26, 2013 at 06:21 am

Technically this usage of NRA should fall under fair use – specifically parody,at least that would be my thought, but IANAL.

ENDO-Mike April 26, 2013 at 07:30 am

Considering he’s selling prints and making lots of money would that still fall under fair use? It’s not really a parody considering he’s using their exact name… not like a “representation” of their name or logo which people can draw their own obvious conclusion from.

Tim April 26, 2013 at 07:36 am

Well, according to

“Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?” I’d say yes to that…
“Was value added…” well we can stop right there, that’s definitely a no… Haha.

Copyright is really intended to protect the copyright owner from competition, and I don’t think anyone could reasonably claim that Shepard Fairey’s target market and the NRA’s overlap. At all.

So it may not be parody in a strict sense, but fair use doesn’t require a “representation” necessarily – if that were the case, they’d have to bleep/blur out “McDonald’s” in the movie “Super Size Me”.

ENDO-Mike April 26, 2013 at 07:41 am

That’s a good point. I like your SuperSize me example but I can’t help but wondering that since that is a documentary rather than a product that could be “confused” for something NRA endorsed the situation would be a bit different. I’ll check out that link thanks Tim.

Tim April 26, 2013 at 07:44 am

For sure. Let us know what you hear from the NRA – like I said, I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on teh interwebs.

somelawtalkingdude April 26, 2013 at 06:12 pm

“Fair use” is not applicable to trademark infringement.

Taylor TX April 26, 2013 at 06:49 am

Artists trying to make a statement they know nothing about, based solely on feelings? NO WAY MAN.

Honestly, I sit next to an artist (the only other person who hunts and shoots here) doing video game development, and showed him this. His reply “What does this douchebag not understand the purpose of using a reference image for something before you draw it? ”

I then point out that its the guy who does all that obey shit and “anyone who cant makeup their own shit and has to use the image of Andre the Giant really isnt much of an artist, just a guy who puts shit on tshirts.”

He just finished making an IWI Tavor for an individual project:

Perturbo April 26, 2013 at 09:33 am
cc19 April 26, 2013 at 10:39 am

One of my pet peeves is seeing game weapons clearly based on real ones that cannot use their actual names less the devs risk lawsuit from the mfg. ie: “M-KAR” = “SCAR-L” I’m just anal about the little details…

Taylor TX April 26, 2013 at 03:27 pm

Yea, normally for any sort of tactical game, its a shit decision to use fake named guns. The Army of Two series hasnt traditionally done very well, and so the funds for that sort of thing get cut just to make the game, which will probably suck considering the last few iterations of the series.

kent donnelly April 26, 2013 at 07:35 am

where is the shoulder thing that goes up?

Rabies April 26, 2013 at 07:49 am

I personally dig the style, and the franken gun doesn’t bother me, maybe its the bold lines or that it reminds me soviet propaganda posters. and honestly before I read the caption I thought this was a dig on senators who supported the full auto ban but had stockpiles of full auto weapons to sell after the fact, not sure if they existed but am always hearing about them.

SittingDown April 26, 2013 at 08:18 am

Magpul taught him to hold the rifle. Check out the chicken choke. LOL

santi April 26, 2013 at 08:49 am

He puts war profiteering on a whole new level. I had to write my two cents about this on the post.

Guav April 26, 2013 at 09:35 am
steve April 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hilariously enough, this is his last print from earlier this week:

Full auto, drum mag, no problem.

Taylor TX April 26, 2013 at 03:31 pm

God, this shit is ridiculous. What is ever more confusing is the story behind that partisan tshirt and how this douche doesnt make the connection between firearms and freedom (from tyranny) he portrays in his own clothing.

Liberal drones beaming in the message from the mothership and spewing back out like its their own idea, I noticed that the NRA flyers on his website said sold out as well. Drones helping drones.

Frank April 26, 2013 at 08:52 pm

@Taylor TX

That’s because he masturbates to videos – possibly or live presentation! – of Paul Krugman doing his mom while listening to this:

Taylor TX April 26, 2013 at 03:35 pm

“I entered into litigation with the AP because I believe in Fair Use and I wanted to protect the rights of all artists. The Obama HOPE poster was created and distributed by a belief in what Obama could do for this country and my hope that I could inspire others to thought and action. Making money was never a part of the equation. As funds came in, I used them to create more posters and stickers and make donations to the Obama campaign. Most of the remaining proceeds were given to causes I support and believe in from the ACLU to Feeding America.”

A quote by this douche taken from this page:

somelawtalkingdude April 26, 2013 at 06:17 pm

I absolutely LOVE when infringers try to claim fair use. They usually settle once you subpoena their banking records.

Big D April 26, 2013 at 07:07 pm
Will April 26, 2013 at 08:50 pm

Sweet thumb over bore though…

John April 27, 2013 at 07:21 am

May be nit-picking but the font used for the ‘NRA’ reminds me of NRA posters from the FDR era.

THAT NRA was truly a dangerous organization, and it was a gov’t agency!

Hank April 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

I reckon he figgers all that talk of God and Satan will trick them Christian rubes into supporting gun control. He’s one clever city slicker, that’s fer sure.

sportyspice April 29, 2013 at 03:15 pm

Meh is right. Sadly Shepard WANTS to get sued/Cease and desist letter from the NRA.
That action legitimizes him.

Saxon April 30, 2013 at 10:44 am

Fairey is the same statist douche that made that goebbels-like Obama HOPE poster, should we really expect him to be anything other than an ironic ass-kisser to his national socialist masters?

Samuel September 16, 2013 at 07:31 pm

Dang! I was wearing an Obey hat today and a friend told me he used to buy Obey apparel until he found out that they were anti-gun. I was baffled and replied really? Got online, did some research and now I’m going to have burn the hats. But what did I expect from the same guy who designed the Obama campaign poster.

Commence the search for a new hat that is Pro-gun, pro-second amendment.

ENDO-Mike September 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Hey Samuel… has hats! *wink wink nudge nudge* Check them out anyway, you might like them! $5 off for each t-shirt you buy (or have bought in the past 30 days)

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