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article imageArtist fights AP for rights to famous Obama 'Hope' Image

By Sitafa Harden     Feb 10, 2009 in Entertainment
Street artist Shepard Fairey's famous Obama "Hope" poster is currently on display in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Now he is fighting The Associated Press for ownership rights to the piece.
CNN reports that Fairey filed a federal lawsuit Monday against The Associated Press.
The suit was in response to the AP's accusations last week that Fairey's poster, made famous during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, violates the copyright on a photo of Obama taken by AP photographer Mannie Garcia in 2006.
In his petition Fairey argues that his rendition, though admittedly inspired by the 2006 AP photo, is an original work of art.
The court documents that he filed stated:
"Fairey transformed the literal depiction contained in the Garcia photograph into a stunning, abstracted and idealized visual image that creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message that has no analogue in the original photo."
The Associated Press claims they hoped to resolve the matter out of court and were not expecting the artist to file suit.
Paul Colford, director of media relations for the AP, told CNN:
"The Associated Press is disappointed by the surprise filing by Shepard Fairey and his company and by Mr. Fairey's failure to recognize the rights of photographers and their work."
In addition to his battle with the AP, Fairey also has personal legal matters to resolve.
Digital Journal reports that he was arrested Friday on two outstanding warrants for property damage by graffiti. He was on his way to an opening party for his first solo art exhibition.
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