AP Wants Its Due From “Hope” Poster

Obama Poster
AP Photo – Mannie Garcia/Shepard Fairey

UPDATE: Shepard Fairey is now suing the AP, claiming he altered the image “with new meaning, new expressions and new messages.”

That ubiquitous “Hope” poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was actually based on an AP photograph by Mannie Garcia. Problem was, the artist, Shepard Fairey, never licensed or paid for the photo and now the AP is crying copyright infringement. Fairey and his lawyers are calling it fair use.

It turns out there were quite a few people working on unraveling this mystery, but most point to Tom Gralish of the Philadelphia Enquirer as connecting the final dots. If you’re interested in how one goes about investigating a poster’s source material, read Gralish’s and blogger James Danziger’s account here and here.

The image will be going in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. It’s made Fairey very, very famous, if not rich (he claims he’s earned no money from the poster, having donated it to the Obama campaign). But, as a firmly fringe, anti-establishment street artist (well, at least he was before he signed on to design presidential campaign posters), Fairey of all people should recognize the importance of giving artists their due.

Story from The AP

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