Shepard Fairey sues AP over Obama art

Fairey beats AP to the punch in a case of copyright infringement.

Andre wants you to obey copyright law

THE NY times reported today that street artist Shepard Fairey, creator of the near-iconic red and blue image of Obama that’s been plastered on mailboxes, stuck in windows and hung on streetlights in the Loop, is preemptively suing the Associated Press after AP announced that it owns the photograph on which Fairey’s “Hope” portrait is based. Fairey is asking a federal judge to declare him immune from copyright infringement claims.

Further complicating the issue, the photo was taken by a freelance photographer named Mannie Garcia. Now he’s claiming a copyright for the photo against the Associated Press.

Fairey’s no stranger to legal trouble. Just last Friday, he was arrested outside Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art for property defacement.

One of Fairey’s portraits of Obama now resides in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. Prior to the Obama piece, he was best known for his image of a menacing Andre the Giant along with the word “Obey.”

Characteristically, the Obama campaign shied away from officially adopting Fairey’s image because of copyright concerns. The City of Chicago had no such reservations.

Interestingly enough, the issue of copyright infringement came up in Fairey’s interview on the Colbert Report.



  • Seps

    Shepard Fairey should be called out on stealing from minority artists and for twisting the message of other artists. I read articles that open my eyes to how horrible he is as a man. He does not allow artist to comment visually on his art but takes, takes, takes all he can from minority artists and photographers. If he thinks that fair use is creative freedom he should accept that artists will comment on his work visually and profit from it just as he does. NPR did not ask him about any of his contradictions and ICA did not either. He is a hypocrite and steals culture for his own profit and messages. He is a rightest selling a leftist message for his own fame and fortune. Support the ASL group in exposing this fraud. Please read and see what he does from the words of this man who has been critical of this artist,

    And the Supertouch article bashing Mr. Vallen is bogus. They only bash Mr. Vallen becauses Vallen is a true revolutionary artist and mentor of the streets. They do it because Mr. Fairey makes them money.