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And Now Shepard Fairey is Suing the AP...

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Shepard Fairey with Obama poster | Photo: Jonathan Alcorn via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
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First the Associated Press threatened to sue artist Shepard Fairey by tomorrow. Now Fairey is beating them to the punch. Today he filed suit against the news agency to vindicate him from accusations that he violated copyright laws. At issue is a Mannie Garcia photo from 2006 of the then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Fairey admitted to using that image as the basis for the now-ubiquitous "Hope" poster that was used first seen on Los Angeles streets and now the ultimate symbol of the President's campaign. Garcia, who was on assignment with the AP, never signed a contract for the photos but also never gave explicit permission to Fairey.

According to court documents, Fairey contends that he used the image “as a visual reference for a highly transformative purpose... Fairey altered the original with new meaning, new expression and new messages.” The AP said they used "special technology" to confirm that Fairey used the photo.

Also: Fairey was arrested in Boston over the weekend. Today in two different courtrooms, he pleaded not guilty to separate charges of tagging property. "I'd love be able to feel like the culture of Boston continues to encourage freedom of expression," he said today. "If that's not going to be the case, I'll deal with that." He is scheduled to appear in Boston court again on March 10 and 11.