Shepard Fairey Strikes Back, Sues AP Over 'Hope' Image

Human Rights

Monday Shepard Fairey's attorneys--the Stanford's Fair Use Project and a San Francisco law firm--wasted no time, filing suit against the Associated Press over the artitst's re-purposing of a photograph taken by Mannie Garcia while on assignment for the news agency. Garcia has said:

I would see the artwork, I would photograph it, and think what is with this image? But it didn’t snap. It never occurred to me it was my picture. I thought, ‘that’s familiar.’ ...

The San Jose Mercury New reports that Garcia says he never signed an explicit photography contract with the AP and that they hired him for just one month. He adds:

I feel very proud that I made the photograph. I never would have imagined that it became what it is, and it's pretty cool. The AP is being very aggressive with Fairey, and I don't want to be a part of that. My last conversation with the AP was that I own the copyright, and that's what I'm maintaining.

Last week the Associated Press issued a statement saying they had

determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission.

The news agency sought credit and compensation (duh) for the use of the image. Hundreds of thousands of the "Hope" version were given away for free by Fairey's studio as part of grassroots campaigning, while other versions became official Presidential Inaugural Committee merchandise and fine art prints. A different version of Fairey's image was used on the cover of TIME magazine and a large print hangs in the National Gallery. Fairey received a thank you letter from Barack Obama during the campaign.

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