Obama ‘Hope’ Poster Artist Sues AP, Claiming Fair Use Of Photo


Publish Date:
February 11, 2009
Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal
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Professor Mark A. Lemley, Lecturer in Law and Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone, and Lecturer in Law and Associate Director of the Fair Use Project Julie Ahrens are mentioned in an article in the Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal regarding a lawsuit filed against the Associated Press on behalf of street artist Shepard Fairey. The suit requests a declaratory judgment that Fairey’s Obama Hope poster does not infringe on air use of an Associated Press photograph. The Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal writes:

Shepard Fairey, the Los Angeles artist who used an Associated Press photograph to create his famed campaign poster of Barack Obama, filed a lawsuit against the AP Feb. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the AP’s allegations of copyright infringement and seeking a declaratory judgment that the poster is a non-infringing fair use of the photograph (Fairey v. Associated Press, S.D. N.Y., No. 09-cv-01123, complaint filed 2/9/09).

The complaint argues that Fairey used the photograph “as a visual reference for a highly transformative purpose,” and that he did not create it “for the sake of commercial gain.”

The complaint was filed by Fairey and the company owned by him and his wife, Obey Giant Art Inc. Listed as attorneys are Anthony T. Falzone and Julie A. Ahrens of the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society and Mark Lemley and Joseph C. Gratz of Durie Tangri Lemley Roberts & Kent, San Francisco.