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Los Angeles artist sues AP

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Category: Industry News

Artist files suit against the Associated Press - A man who created an iconic image for the 2008 presidential campaign has filed a lawsuit against AP.

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Credit: AP Photo/Mannie Garcia/ Shepard Fairey.
An artist who created a poster of Barack Obama filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press on Monday over the news agency's copyright challenge to the piece of art.
According to a complaint filed in a US District Court in Manhattan, Shepard Fairey's use of the AP photograph to create his poster was not a violation of copyright law and according to Bloomberg Press the artist seeks to “vindicate” himself after AP accused him of copying the photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia in April 2006. The suit asked the judge to declare that the work is protected under fair-use which allows limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as parody, satire or comment.

According to an AP report Shepard
Fairey's lawyers acknowledged that the artist did use an AP photograph but that it "conveys a radically different message" to that of the original.

In a statement Paul Colford AP's Director of Media Relations said: “The Associated Press is disappointed by the surprise filing by Shepard Fairey and his company, and by Mr. Fairey's failure to recognise the rights of photographers in their works. AP was in the middle of settlement discussions with Mr. Fairey's attorney last week in order to resolve this amicably, and made it clear that a settlement would benefit the AP Emergency Relief Fund, a charitable fund that supports AP journalists around the world who suffer personal loss from natural disasters and conflicts.

At Mr. Fairey's attorney's request, we agreed AP would not pursue legal action while in these discussions. Despite an agreement to continue these discussions on Friday, Mr. Fairey's attorney avoided contact, nor did he respond to an invitation to make contact over the weekend. Instead, he chose to file on Monday morning, without any notice to AP.

AP believes it is crucial to protect photographers, who are creators and artists. Their work should not be misappropriated by others. The photograph used in the poster is an AP photo, and its use required permission from AP.”

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10 Feb 2009 - 12:33 PM

This is really bizarre.

I admit to not having read the whole ruling but how on Earth can this guy's poster not be considered a breach of copyright? It is so clearly based on the photo it beggars belief there can be grounds for escaping prosecution

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10 Feb 2009 - 7:43 PM

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Scutter e2 Member 61742 forum postsScutter vcard United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
10 Feb 2009 - 7:43 PM

Agreed !

jken  71672 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
12 Feb 2009 - 11:03 AM

Totally agree.

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