AP tries to shake down Shepard Fairey

February 4, 2009 at 6:28 pm in Art, Law

Associated Press is going after Shephard Fairey for copyright infringement for appropriating their Obama photo for his iconic Hope poster. Fairey has always been forthcoming about the shot by photographer Manny Garcia, who was on assignment for AP when he snapped it at the National Press Club in DC three years ago.

Fair use doctrine, which allows exceptions to copyright law, comes into play here, as Fairey’s lawyer said in a statement.

From AP:

“We believe fair use protects Shepard’s right to do what he did here,” says Fairey’s attorney, Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a lecturer at the Stanford Law School. “It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment beyond that at this time because we are in discussions about this with the AP.”

I guess the Warhol estate is quaking in their boots over this. Yeah, right.

[Addendum: Sean just sent me the original uncropped AP photo. Click through to see it. Also some added info regarding the history of appropriating photography.]

Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine are two artists who have navigated the choppy waters of photography appropriation. I remember following this story a few years ago about Prince, searched for it and found there are new developments for him.

And there’s a funny story about Sherrie Levine here. Here’s the funny part:

This finds its pinnacle, perhaps, in the work of Sherrie Levine. She photographs photographs. (Once, when we were walking through the Met, Matt noticed that a Walker Evans’ print looked strange. It turned out that it was a Sherrie Levine photograph of a Walker Evans.)

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