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Who's Right? AP and Hope Artist in Copyright Fight

Who's Right? AP and Hope Artist in Copyright Fight

Barack Obama's image has inspired street art around the country, but the most famous vandal can't even get credit for his creation.

Shepard Fairey, the street artist behind the "Hope" poster, became the target of an AP lawsuit last week. The news agency says it owns the rights to the hopeful poster because its photographer took the original photo of Barack Obama, and it wants credit and compensation from Fairey.

With hope on his side, Fairey filed his own suit yesterday, asking the court to rule that he did not violate copyright law by using the AP photo.

Fairey argues that he transformed the literal depiction into a "stunning, abstracted and idealized visual image that creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message."

Whose side are you on?


Join The Conversation
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
still love my shirt!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
You're right, genesis. How dare an artist not want others profiting from the artist's work without paying the artist for it? Gosh, that's extreme!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Everyone claiming it's not copyright infringement because he didn't make money - you don't have to profit from something for it to be copyright infringement. 17 USC 106 reads: the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: . . . (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work If it's decided that this is a derivative work, not a transformative work, then I'm afraid that this artist is in violation of copyright.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
These copyright laws are getting too extreme.
azulsky azulsky 8 years
IMO this falls under fair use and it appears the AP may not even own the copyright to the photo, Mannie Garcia the photographer claims he does. "Further complicating the dispute, Mr. Garcia contends that he, not The Associated Press, owns the copyright for the photo, according to his contract with the The A.P. at the time. In a telephone interview on Monday, Mr. Garcia said he was unsure how he would proceed now that the matter had landed in court. But he said he was very happy when he found out that his photo was the source of the poster image and that he still is.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Sy, I didn't know they weren't actually suing, thanks for the info. If they did bring suit, though, I would think fair use precedent would fall on Fairey's side. He significantly changed the image and I don't think the AP had any real damages.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, corporation I mean!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
But who would be the big bad coorporation then Syako? We need a little guy to support.
syako syako 8 years
the post is a little misleading, this is what I read: AP spokesman Paul Colford said the AP was "disappointed by the surprise filing." He said in a statement that the AP had agreed last week not to take legal action while it was in settlement talks, but that Fairey's attorney broke off contact Friday. The AP has not taken legal action against Fairey. But his lawsuit noted that the AP had threatened twice to sue Fairey, possibly as early as Tuesday, and that it considered all works that incorporate the imagery of the "Obama Hope" poster to be infringements of its copyrights.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
delia delia 8 years
I firmly believe that Fairey's image falls within fair use. The image has been altered significantly (and not just "colorized" as many people claim) and most importantly, the purpose and message of the image is dramatically different. Also, there is some debate about whether or not the AP even OWNS this image; the photographer, Mannie Garcia, claims he had not signed a contract with the AP during the period that picture was taken. If that is the case, Mannie would be the owner of the copyright.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
Then it sounds like the AP is suing the wrong person.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
he didnt but the democratic party did. you donated money to get the posters, bumperstickers, etc.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
Fair use applies to art as well. He made substantial changes from the original photo.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
That's the thing. He didn't make any money.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
fair use, is using the picture for your blog, its not using it to make a poster and making money off of it.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
This lawsuit is frivolous. There is no copyright infringement. For one thing, the average person will not confuse Fairey's work with the photo. And another, has AP heard of "fair use" under copyright laws? I guess when it only serves them. Fairey's in the right.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
No Momma, the picture belongs to the associated Press, you ask THEM for permission not Obama.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
It seems to me the artist could have called the AP or another photographer and gotten permission to use a photo. At the time, no one knew he'd have such a hit. If he had done that, he probably would have been given permission for free.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I think AP is right, but this does make them seem a little bit of a bully.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
What was he suppose to do? Call up Obama and ask him for a picture? Im with the artist.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Its the AP's right to defend its photograph and the use of that photograph by Fairey. I cant stand "artists" who dont have original visions and have to piggyback on others to get a leg up
honeycreepshow honeycreepshow 8 years
legally, i think AP is in the right. however, it's low of them to attack an artist who created one of the most prominent images of the year.
Meike Meike 8 years
Artist. There was quite a bit of work involved with the piece Fairey created. The original had been dramatically changed. Sheesh.
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
Ha! The recession must've hit AP, too. Seriously what the hell's a big company doing picking on an artist? And why now? From a logical POV I'd side with AP but this is ridiculous.
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