In an amusing conflict of interest, the Associated Press reported Friday that its lawsuit against graphic artist Shepard Fairey is progressing nicely. According to the AP, it looks like the AP is going to win.
To be fair: Fairey’s chances really do appear to be slim. The case dates back to February 2009, when Fairey filed a preemptive lawsuit against the AP, which had claimed ownership of the photo used for his ubiquitous Obama “HOPE” posters. Fairey claimed to have evidence that the poster was derived from a fair-use photo. The AP countersued and Fairey later admitted that his evidence was false.
The AP’s latest story doesn’t claim victory outright, but quotes Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein as urging a settlement in the case because “whether it’s sooner or later, The Associated Press is going to win.”
One wonders if it was worth filing a story with no updates except that things are still going well for the AP. Can’t they just put all this behind them and let Fairey get back to covering every last inch of Lower Manhattan with his murals?
UPDATE, 5 p.m.:
We just received a quote from Shepard Fairey’s lawyer, Geoffrey Stewart, via email:
“We don’t believe Judge Hellerstein’s statement in court today indicates a prejudgement of the case. We continue to believe there is a strong basis for fair use in this case, and Judge Hellerstein made clear that he hasn’t even begun to focus on the fair use issues.”
HOPE springs eternal, it seems.
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