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Obama "Hope" Artist Settles With AP in Copyright Suit

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Courtesy of Shepard Fairey)

After two years of wrangling, the street artist who created the Barack Obama "Hope" campaign poster and the Associated Press have settled competing copyright infringement suits against one other.

The artist, Shepard Fairey, based his iconic, unofficial poster on a 2006 AP photograph of Obama. Fairey admitted using photographer Mannie Garcia's image, which was shot at the National Press Club, and claimed fair use laws. The AP disagreed and requested that Fairey give them credit and compensation for using the image.

Fairey sued the AP claiming he had the right to use the image under the fair-use exceptions in copyright law. The AP disagreed and countersued.

Today, in a joint statement, both parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit and even collaborate on future projects. They did not disclose the amount settled on.

In a statement, both sides said they have agreed that neither are surrendering its view of the law and, "Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP." 

Fairey, once known for his gloomy, black and white Andre the Giant posters said, "I respect the work of photographers, as well as recognize the need to preserve opportunities for other artists to make fair use of photographic images."

The deal also settles disputes against various companies that have used the image for merchandise. But Fairey's apparel marketing company, Obey Clothing, is still facing a copyright infringement trial in March.

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