Friday, February 06, 2009

AP accuses 'Hope' artist of copyright infringement

There are times when huge corporations go after the little guy and simply get it dead wrong in my opinion. Like this:

As we've previously reported, the Hope posters that artist Shepard Fairey created during the presidential campaign use an image of Barack Obama that's based on a photograph taken for the Associated Press by then-freelancer Mannie Garcia.

Now, the AP wants credit and compensation.

The wire service says Fairey didn't get permission to do what he did. Fairey's attorney says "fair use" gave him the legal right to take the image and rework it into a piece of art.

"We have reached out to Mr. Fairey's attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution," says the AP's director of media relations, Paul Colford, in a statement.

What do they hope to gain through this? Fairey, as far as I am aware, did not make huge fortunes out of this iconic image, so what does AP want? It's not as if the picture which they are claiming this poster is based on is especially brilliant or shows a side of Obama which we have previously never seen.

Indeed, it is what Fairey did with the image which makes it interesting, far more than the image itself.

And lawyers appear to at loggerheads over whether or not there has been copyright infringement in this case.
"Fairey's purpose of the use for the photo was political or civic, and this will certainly count in favor of the poster being a fair use," said Gross, based in San Francisco. "Nor will the poster diminish the value of the photo, if anything, it has increased the original photo's value beyond measure, another factor counting heavily in favor of fair use."
Is there a company out there wanting compensation for the iconic photograph of "Che" Guevara?

If they had any sense, AP would simply let this one go.

Click title for full article.


Paul said...

Unfortunately this relies on Associated Press having any sense at all. This seems like a continuation of their campaign of harassment against bloggers that they started earlier in the year, and detailed here:

I refuse to link to any story that comes from an AP source, and have joined the boycott - sadly the official website does not appear to be working, and I can only wonder if AP have had it shut down.

Nonetheless, poor form from the Associated Press, and it only further serves to lower my opinion of them.

Kel said...

Paul, Thanks for that. I was unaware of AP's stance until I read your Newshoggers link. It's an astonishing position to take.

Paul said...

It is quite astonishing. On the one hand, I understand their comments about having people cut and paste entire AP stories, adding no commentary to it - that's simple plagiarism, and shouldn't be tolerated.

But to go after people who only quote short passages, with their own commentary afterwards - the essence of political blogging - that's draconian, and completely kills independent commenting.

As for this particular artist, he's amply covered by fair use, and I'm appalled that AP don't realise this.

Kel said...

I totally agree Paul. There are many sites which simply paste other people's stories whilst making no comment and that is plagiarism.

However, political blogging tends to be commenting on what is taking place in the news which means you must reference some source.

They appear to be attacking the entire concept of blogging altogether unlike an organisation like The Washington Post which actually provides links to which bloggers are covering their particular stories.

I know which attitude I prefer.