AP Sued by Shepard Fairey Over Obama Image Copyright (Update1)
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Shepard Fairey, the artist whose “Hope” image of President Barack Obama was added to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, sued the Associated Press over the news company’s copyright challenge to the artwork.
Fairey seeks to “vindicate” himself after the AP earlier accused him of copying the AP photograph on which the artist’s red-white-and-blue image of Obama is based, according to a complaint filed today in federal court in New York.
The Los Angeles-based artist and his company, Obey Giant Art Inc., used the AP photograph “as a visual reference for a highly transformative purpose,” according to the complaint. “Fairey altered the original with new meaning, new expression and new messages.”
The photograph that inspired the disputed Fairey image was taken by Mannie Garcia in April 2006 at the National Press Club’s panel discussion about the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, according to the complaint.
Fairey seeks a court order that the image, created inJanuary 2008, doesn’t violate AP’s copyright. According to the complaint, Fairey’s work is protected by the Fair Use statue (sic), which allows limited use of copyrighted material to make original works of art.
The AP, which claimed on Feb. 4 that Fairey’s image infringed the company’s copyright, threatened to sue Fairey by tomorrow, according to the complaint. The AP said it used “special technology” to determine the image’s original source.
Meanwhile Shepard Fairey was arrested Friday night in Boston for warrants accusing him of property defacement/graffiti/tagging. Fairey was detained en route to a party at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, which is presenting "Supply and Demand," the first solo exhibition of the 38-year-old artist's work. Read what happened here.
Shepard Fairey is also the designer of Andre the Giant back in 1986 in Charleston, South Carolina. See the stickers based on his design below: