Iconic Obama poster artist sued for copyright violation

March 12th, 2009 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 12 (DPA) The artist who created the iconic campaign poster of US president Barack Obama above the slogan ‘Hope’ has been sued by a US-based news agency.
In a filing in federal court in New York Wednesday, the Associated Press said the poster by Shepard Fairey was an unauthorised version of a 2006 AP photograph.

“Fairey’s wilful pattern and practice is to repeatedly copy the works of other artists and photographers,” AP said in its complaint. “While plaintiffs have attempted to cloak their actions in the guise of politics and art, there is no doubt that they are profiting handsomely from their misappropriation.”

Fairey does not deny basing his poster on the photograph, but in a pre-emptive lawsuit last month he said that he used the picture “as a visual reference for a highly transformative purpose.”

But the AP said that its photographer captured a “patriotic theme” that made it unique and that Fairey’s images “copy all the distinctive and unequivocally recognisable elements of the Obama photo in their entire detail, retaining the heart and essence of the AP’s photo”.

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