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AP Alleges Iconic Shepard Fairey Poster Infringes Copyright

Left: Manny Garcia's 2006 photo for AP. Right: "Hope" by Shepard Fairey
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The Associated Press has claimed that the famous "Hope" portrait of President Barack Obama created by Eastsider Shepard Fairey infringes its copyright in a 2006 photo. The AP is seeking credit and compensation, according to, err, the AP.

Fairey has admitted publicly that his image was based on Garcia's. The original photo was taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.

Fairey's legal advisor stated that he believes Fairey's use of the image is protected by the fair use doctrine under copyright law.

It is unclear whether fair use would act as a complete defense to Fairey's use. Although the doctrine tends to favor transformative works for the purpose of political comment and parody, courts have held, as in the case against the artist Jeff Koons for "String of Puppies," Rogers v. Koons, that fair use does not protect artistic copying when there was no clear need to imitate the photo for parody.

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The AP and Fairey are reportedly in confidential discussions over the case.