Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AP and Shepard Fairey settle case; claims against corporate entities remain

The Associated Press announced that it has "settled in principle" its copyright case against artist Shepard Fairey over his use of an AP photograph in the iconic "Obama Hope" poster. The announcement of the settlement comes a little more than seven months after the judge in the case stated at a hearing, "sooner or later, The Associated Press is going to win" the case and urged settlement.

According to the AP's announcement:
In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP. The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential.
The AP's claims against other Fairey-related entities, however, remain. So do its claims against One 3 Two, Inc., a company that manufactured and distributed clothing bearing the Obama Hope image under license from Obey Giant, one of Fairey's entities. One 3 Two's summary judgment brief argues that it didn't copy protectable elements of the AP's photo but, for procedural reasons, does not address fair use. The AP's brief does argue that Fairey's and One 3 Two's use of its photo was not fair.

Still unknown is the status of the federal grand jury investigation of Fairey for his admitted falsehoods and evidence spoliation regarding which photograph he used as a basis for the poster.