Fairey, Associated Press Face Off Over Obama Poster

Posted on 2/5/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Associated Press is going after Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey for copyright infringement. The AP claims to own the photo Fairey used as basis for the famed Obama “HOPE” poster; Fairey claims fair use. Image ownership and the application of the fair-use exception are the two unclear aspects of this potential legal battle, which has yet to become a formal lawsuit.

The photo was shot by photographer Mannie Garcia, who says he was filling in for an AP staffer on a temporary-hire basis. Garcia says he never signed an AP contract and has not been a formal employee or freelancer, who are subject to the company’s work-for-hire arrangements. Discussions between Garcia and the AP are ongoing, and it is not clear which of the two parties has legal standing to pursue Fairey for copyright infringement. The AP is already pursuing the issue, and Garcia has made comments that suggest he intends to do the same.

How Fairey’s attorneys intend to use the fair-use exception is even less clear. The attorneys refused to disclose their legal strategy, stating that it is a subject of discussions with the AP. Some pundits have guessed that the argument may revolve around how much of the original work was adopted; others say it is a matter of intent.

Multiple media have published stories on this subject:

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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