The copyright lawsuit between the American Urban Artist, Shepard Fairey and AP (Associated Press), came a step closer to a conclusion yesterday, when U.S. District Judge, Alvin Hellerstein dismissed the case. The artist who had created the Barack Obama “HOPE” image from a photograph by a professional AP news photographer, has been excluded from the current lawsuit, but a March trial date has been scheduled for claims between the news service and companies that sold merchandise using the artist’s image. Hellerstien also said the claims could be reinstated within a month if either side requested it. The judge said other claims between AP and Fairey-related companies that manufactured or marketed products based on the image will be put before an eight-person civil jury on March 21. Lawyers on all sides did not immediately return messages seeking comment. The dispute is over an AP photograph taken in 2006 when Obama, then a U.S. Senator. Fairey used the photograph when he created his artwork during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, he sued the AP, seeking a court declaration that he did not violate AP’s copyrights when he made the Obama image. The news cooperative countersued, saying the use of its picture violated copyright laws and was a threat to journalism.The image show a purposeful looking Obama gazing upward, with the caption “HOPE.” It was unclear how a dismissal of claims between Fairey and the AP would affect the legal use of the original image. Arguments over whether Fairey altered the original image of Obama enough that he did not infringe on the AP copyright is still up in the air. This case highlights the argument over intellectual property vs physical source material.”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,” the artist said in a statement released by the AP. I look forward to working with photos provided by the AP’s talented photographers.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”.
AP doesn’t seem to understand that the nature of the photograph has been contextually altered by Fairey’s a treatment of the photo.This change, in the way the photo was used and perceived, has altered transforming a news photograph into a work of art.. The argument has always been compared to Andy Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s and Coca Cola trademarks. Are they works of Art or are they infringing copyrighted trademarks?
Urban Art Sale Bonham’s Big Results For Banksy and Fairey
‘Save or delete Jungle Book’, an original art work by British Artist Banksy sold in London. for £78,000 at Bonhams this week. The work produced for a Greenpeace’s Save or Delete campaign to highlight the problems of global deforestation was sold in a flurry of bids both on the phone and in the room. It was featured as part of Bonham’s London Urban Art sale. The work features some of the main characters from Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ incorporated onto a picture of a devastated forest. It was created for use on posters, billboards and postcards and printed, but never put into circulation because of the copyright policies at Disney. It is believed that the vendor of this lot is donating a percentage of the proceeds to Greenpeace. In the same sale,Shepard Fairey’s Peace Goddess on Wood, 2008, fetched £27,600 (estimate £8,000 – 12,000).