In court papers filed by The Associated Press, the news organization said Shepard Fairey concocted the story that he was mistaken about which photo he used to create the famous Obama HOPE poster and disputed his contention that he has not personally profited from the iconic red, white and blue image.
Days after Fairey acknowledged trying to destroy potentially damaging evidence in his legal battle with the AP, the news agency filed amended papers in Manhattan federal court, accusing the Los Angeles-based poster artist of deliberate deception.
Until recently, Fairey had claimed his image was based on a 2006 photo of then-Sen. Barack Obama, seated next to actor George Clooney. Fairey now says that he was in error and that he used a solo, close-up shot of Obama, as the AP had long alleged.
"It is simply not credible that Fairey somehow forgot in January 2009 which source image he used to create the Infringing Works, which were completed only a year earlier in January 2008," according to the papers filed Tuesday.
"It also strains credulity that an experienced graphic designer such as Shepard Fairey misremembered cropping George Clooney out of a source image and making other changes ... when no such cropping or other changes were ever made."
"Shepard continues to stand by his statement from last Friday," said Fairey's spokesman, Jay Strell. "He has apologized and taken responsibility for his actions. The more important question is why the AP continues to spend enormous financial resources attacking Shepard and diverting the debate from the central question in this case, which is whether he transformed the ... image into a work of art, which he has."
Fairey sued the not-for-profit news cooperative in February, arguing that he didn't violate copyright law because he dramatically changed the image and thus was protected by "fair use" guidelines. The AP countersued in March, saying the uncredited, uncompensated use of an AP photo violated copyright laws and signaled a threat to journalism.
Fairey has long contended that he did not make money off of the image, which has appeared on posters, buttons, shirts and stickers, in books and in museums, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. But the AP alleged Tuesday that Fairey, through his Obey Clothing store, has "generated substantial revenue from the commercial exploitation of the Obama posters on T-shirts and other merchandise."
The AP cited published reports in estimating that profits from the Obama image had topped $400,000 as of September 2008, and now far exceeded that thanks to "the publicity generated by this lawsuit."
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Blue on blue fighting: