The cover article of the November issue of ARTNews was about Warhol and his current popularity on consumer products. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts owns his copyrights; you have to get a license from them to use his images. They approve just about every request--perfume, chocolate, snowboards, condoms--but according to the article "the foundation rigorously guards against unauthorized use of copyrights and trademarks" and "legal actions have been periodically initiated against offenders."
So did the "artist" (sneer quotes) who contributed this derivative work to the White House Christmas Tree--they didn't even alter it, they just decoupaged it on a ball--get permission from the Foundation to use Warhol's work? I'm not insinuating anything, but I want to know. Because I'm pretty sure "the glory of Barack Obama" isn't covered under "fair use"--see Associated Press vs. Shepard Fairey. They charge "nominal fees" for "educational and creative purposes" but they do expect you to get their permission before using their property in your own art. Which is fair, and supported by copyright law.
I'm not a fan of copyrights lasting for generations after the creator's death, but the Foundation donates its money to artists, art programs, and museums, and I AM a fan of those things being supported solely by private entities instead of tax dollars.
Yeah, I know, this pales next to all the unConstitutional garbage the White House is orchestrating, but given that people who describe themselves as "artists" are overwhelmingly Obamaphiles...they need to know they're just tools of this megalomaniacal bastard and his pals. If they'll countenance stealing from icons, stealing from you is easy-peasy. (Thanks for nothing, Ovoters!)