Fairey & Fair Use

Shepard Fairey supporters will be glad to know that AP’s lawsuit against him is finally over. Anyone out there seeking clarification on Fair Use will have to wait for the next lawsuit.

Fairey used a photograph of President Obama to create his iconic “HOPE” image. In 2009, he sought a declaration from the court that he had not infringed AP’s copyright in the photograph. AP countersued, claiming that, actually, he did infringe its copyright.

The parties released a statement last week, announcing that they have settled. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. To avoid future disputes, Fairey agreed to seek a license before using any more AP photos. ArtInfo reports that there will now be, in effect, a commercial partnership between the parties. Thus, the parties have entirely avoided legal clarification of fair use.

So, can artists use news service images? For political commentary? AP still hasn’t settled with Obey Clothing, so perhaps not for T-Shirts.

Read the article at the Washington Post.

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