Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press Can Once Again Live in Harmonyâ??Sort Of



Shepard Fairey’s iconic Hope poster, which became the image of Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, came under fire last February by the Associated Press, who claimed Fairey’s manipulation of a 2006 AP photo constituted copyright infringement. Fairey sued*, and what happened subsequently was a bit of a mess—so we’re happy to report today that the two parties have settled their differences.

A post on Fairey’s Obey Giant blog today sums up the case thus far, then outlines the terms of Fairey’s agreement with the AP: “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.” Then there’s a slightly passive-aggressive quote from the president of the AP, Tom Curley, which amounts to a promise that the AP plans to continue being amazing and to continue filing lawsuits when they see fit, followed by a genuine-sounding quote from Fairey in which he states his respect for photographers in general and “the AP’s talented photographers” specifically.

This all sounds great, until you get to the curt final paragraph of the post: “The AP’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Obey Clothing, the marketer of apparel with the Hope image, remains ongoing.” Guess Fairey’s not out of the woods quite yet.

*CORRECTION: This post originally stated that Fairey countersued. Fairey actually sued the AP first, after they issued a statement saying his work constituted copyright infringement. The AP countersued. We regret the error.

[Obey Giant via NYO]