On January 21, I wrote about the discovery of the photograph that led to the now-ubiquitous Shepard Fairey “Hope” image of Obama, gazing up and out into the middle distance. The photographer, Manny Garcia, who now works for Bloomberg, told me at the time, quite sincerely, that he did not want money or lawyers, but he did want to talk to Fairey about the image. But since Garcia took the picture while working at the Associated Press, which owns the copyright on the image, there is a third party involved, and that third party has plenty of lawyers.
“The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission,” the AP’s director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement. “AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey’s attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution.”
Fairey’s attorney says the copyright principle of “fair use” protects Fairey’s use of the image. Meanwhile, Garcia tells me that the National Portrait Gallery, where the Fairey/Garcia/AP image now hangs, has requested a copy of his original photograph to hang beside the Fairey print, in a place of honor.