The iconic “Hope” image that was created and distributed by Fairey, during the Obama campaign, was tracked back to an Associated Press photo taken by Mannie Garcia, on assignment by AP. The AP is now suing Fairey, claiming copyright infringement. Can you image the can of worms that is liable to open? Anyone who has done a stencil, can now owe royalties to the photographer who produced the picture it was taken from? Is the guy who took the Andre the Giant photo that Fairey modeled his “Obey” campaign on, now going to come out of the woodwork demanding cash?
Fairey’s lawyers argue that there is no infringement, under the “fair use” doctrine. I feel kind of bad for the guy. I hope that he doesn’t lose this one. Can you imagine the kind of damages that he would have to pay? That “Hope” piece was EVERYWHERE. I hope that if he does lose, that the court at least takes into account the fact that the profit generated from the piece, was primarily used to print and distribute more copies.
Here is the AP photo and the Fairey piece, side by side. You be the judge.