Saturday, April 4, 2020
 

Wha Wha: Judge Drops Claims Between Shepard Fairey and AP


It’s bad enough that we’re going through a remake of the Jimmy Carter years, and that last night the BCS gave us a boring “championship” between two dismal and B-rate football teams (read: no Texas, Alabama, or Florida). Tonight we get another snoozer.

Reports just in indicate that the much anticipated legal battle between Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press has come to one limp conclusion.

A judge has dismissed copyright lawsuits between an artist who created the Barack Obama “HOPE” image and The Associated Press but has left a March trial date in place for related claims between the news service and companies that sold merchandise using the artist’s image.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in a one-page order publicly filed Tuesday that a “suggestion of settlement” led him to dismiss claims between artist Shepard Fairey and the AP. He said the claims could be reinstated within a month if either side requested it.

UPDATE: January 12, 2011
The AP has just released a statement concerning their “pending” settlement.

Press Release

AP and Shepard Fairey announce agreement in Obama poster case

The Associated Press, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Fairey’s companies Obey Giant Art, Inc., Obey Giant LLC, and Studio Number One, Inc., have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise.

Mr. Fairey used an AP portrait photograph of Mr. Obama in making the Hope poster. Mr. Fairey did not license the photograph from the AP before using it. The AP contended that Mr. Fairey copied all of the original, creative expression in the AP’s photograph without crediting or compensating the AP, and that Mr. Fairey’s unlicensed use of the photograph was not a fair use. Mr. Fairey claimed that he did not appropriate any copyrightable material from the AP’s photo, and that, in any event, his use of the photograph constituted a fair use under copyright law.

In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP. The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential.

“The Associated Press is pleased to have reached resolution of its lawsuit with Mr. Fairey,” said Tom Curley, president and CEO. “AP will continue to celebrate the outstanding work of its award-winning photographers and use revenue from the licensing of those photos to support its mission as the essential provider of news and photography from around the world. The AP will continue to vigilantly protect its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use.”

“I am pleased to have resolved the dispute with the Associated Press,” said Mr. Fairey. “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. I often collaborate with photographers in my work, and I look forward to working with photos provided by the AP’s talented photographers.”

The AP’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Obey Clothing, the marketer of apparel with the Hope image, remains ongoing.

For more information, contact:

Paul Colford /Jack Stokes
Media Relations
The Associated Press
212.621.1720

 

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