Copyright Infrigment or Fair Use?

Obama Poster We’ have all seen this picture. It’s been sold on the sidewalks here in downtown Brooklyn in the form of T shirts, buttons and posters since the election campaign began. The picture is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe image, created using the art technique of screen printing. Like Warhol, the artist, Shepard Fairey, used pop-culture images to connect with non-art audiences.

According to Fairey, he got his inspiration from an Associated Press photograph of the then Senator Obama taken by Mannie Garcia in 2006, at the National Press Club in Washington.

Well the AP is now claiming copyright infringement , stating that the photo which Fairey used was AP’s property and its use required their permission. Fairey’s lawyers are arguing that he is protected under the fair use doctrine, which allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the owner.


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