Lawsuit over Obama 'Hope' poster settled

Shepard-Fairey-obamaImage Credit: National Portrait Gallery/Shepard Fairey/ ImagesThe Associated Press and artist Shepard Fairey have settled a legal dispute over whether Fairey violated copyright terms by doctoring a 2006 AP photo of then Senator Barack Obama for Fairey’s famous “Hope” poster of Obama, the New York Times reports. Both sides agreed that “neither side surrendered its view of the law” and settled with undisclosed financial terms. Fairey, featured heavily in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, created the poster to support Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, Fairey preemptively sued the AP after the news organization accused him of infringement, arguing that his use of the photo fell under fair use. Last year, however, after Fairey admitted that he had identified a different AP photo used for the “Hope” poster than the one he actually used and deleted other images to cover his actions, a criminal investigation and civil case were launched. In settling their dispute, Fairey has agreed not to use another AP photo without permission. Fairey and the AP will also share the rights to the Hope image.

Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • Miss Talk

    Anywho, great picture.
    This will end on dollar bills in a hundred years.

    • lefty


      • anna

        yes it will

    • MattChance on Twitter

      Bah ha ha! Yeah, that’ll happen.

    • D

      “This will end on dollar bills in a hundred years.”


  • joblo

    Obama is going to replace GEORGE WASHINGTON on the dollar bill? Regardless of your politics, that’s just plain ridiculous.

  • clair de lune

    this is so unfair. maybe shepherd messed up by identifying a different picture, but I just don’t understand why he should have had to in the first place! the picture it’s based on isn’t famous, I don’t know if i’d recognize it if i saw it– its THIS poster that’s iconic, and it’s shepherd’s artwork that made it that way! the fact that they have to share the rights is just so ridiculous. this makes me mad. i don’t know, i guess it makes sense, it just seems so ridiculous. There are SO MANY pictures of obama, there are probably 12 that have him in that same pose. it just seems really douchey of them.

    • Max

      The problem isn’t how many photos of Obama are out there, the problem is that AP and the proginal photographer own the exclusive rights to the photo that was used. These rights include forbidding “derivative works” of the photo, which this poster is. As a photographer and graphic designer, I was watching this case very closely to see how things would go as the ruling would affect all photographers and designers who use other people’s photography/designs as a basis for their works. Any derivative may become “iconic”, but this doesn’t mean that, suddenly, because of this, the artist didn’t violate copyright laws.

  • Zyah

    God help me, I put aside a whole afternoon to fuigre this out.

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