AP vs. Shepard Fairey Trial Set for Spring 2011

Use of copyrighted photo for iconic “Hope” poster heads to court

The trial between the Associated Press and artist Shepard Fairey over his use of a copyrighted photo in the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster now has a date: March 21, 2011.

The trial is expected to take three weeks.

During a court appearance in New York to set the trial date, Team Fairey “told the judge that Fairey will show at trial how he made the Obama image, calling it a work of art based on one photograph.”

The AP claims that Fairey’s use — without credit or compensation — violated its copyright.

The news agency's  photographs used by Fairey were taken from a press event in Washington in 2006. Obama, then a senator, was seated next to George Clooney.

Seems to me it should a clear case of a designer using source material to create a work of art, though Fairey has stumbled a bit in his defense so far.

According to the AP, Fairey “acknowledged that he based his artwork on a picture of Obama that did not include Clooney and that he had submitted false images and deleted other images to conceal his actions.”

Suddenly, Fairey’s case is not so clear.