The Great Associated Press vs Shepard Fairey Obama Hope Poster Debate

Garcia / FaireyIf you haven’t yet heard the news, the AP has claimed copyright infringement against Los Angeles-based Wrestlemania fan and graphic artist Shepard Fairey for his iconic “HOPE” poster depicting Barack Obama. Turns out Fairey used an AP photo originally taken by Manny Garcia as the basis of his 2008 poster without credit or prior permission (the artist had made this admission prior to recent litigation). The Associated Press now wants to see cash and credit; Shep is claiming Fair Use. While awaiting feedback and insight from various legal professionals regarding this debate, we now turn to you, dear reader, to weigh in on this pressing legal quandary…


IMAGE CREDIT: AP photo by Manny Garcia. Poster by Shepard Fairey based on AP photo by Manny Garcia. Photo reprinted from Yahoo! News, which was taken from the Associated Press. Photo reprinted sans formal permission from Yahoo! News or the Assosicated Press, but with full standard blog attribution. (Does such a thing exist? Where does it end!? Cease-and-desist me if you must.)

Update: As Gawker has pointed out, the 2008 Obama campaign had Fairey design an entirely separate poster, knowing full well the original image was AP copyrighted. Next, go check out the WashPost’s graphic breakdown of the above controversial poster back in May of last year – published months after the new legally-safe poster had been added to the Obama campaign store – and note how the WP writer deftly describes how Shepard “straightens the jacket lapels” while neglecting to publish the original photo, thereby denying you any sort of context.