Wednesday, March 29, 2023

don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet

According to the NY Times, Shepard Fairey has sued the Associated Press, asking a judge to declare that he is protectec under copyright law in using the AP’s photograph. However, in an interesting turn of events, it seems the “true” copyright owner of this (now) famous photograph is up for debate. It seems that the photographer, Mannie Garcia, is now claiming that in fact he, under contract with the AP, owns the copyright to the original photographic image.

In a pre-emptive strike, the street artist Shepard Fairey filed a lawsuit on Monday against The Associated Press, asking a federal judge to declare that he is protected from copyright infringement claims in his use of a news photograph as the basis for a now ubiquitous campaign poster image of President Obama.

With Obama’s popularity and so much hype of this image playing in Fairey’s favor, I don’t think this lawsuit will actually get its full day in court. As with the Cariou v. Prince lawsuit, my legally educated guess is that both of these lawsuits will settle out of court, meaning that unfortunately the “fair use” exception under copyright law will remain as abstract and unpredictable as ever.

More from the NY Times here.



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