Contemporary artist Shepard Fairey got sued by the Associated Press for not meeting Fair Use standards when using their photo of Barack Obama as the inspiration for his infamous "Hope" poster. And now he's fessing up: Fairey lied in court.
It's old hat that Fairey's been embattled in a court case over fair use, the idea that something like an image can be used in the context of news if it doesn't sap value from the source's original work. That source, in this case, being the wire news behemoth Associated Press, who are more or less trying to find away to put a price on information so blogs and the like can't take "their" news and do stuff with it like talk about it. But for the time being, Fairey's the guy the AP's suing the pants off of because he's a high profile figure who created a high profile piece of art from their high profile photgraph. And they want some of that young, idealistic money shelled out to Fairey, who's made a grip from his posters. He's probably lost quite a bit fighting this.
In a recent court deposition, Fairey identified one photo as the one he used as the inspiration for his poster, while the AP identified theirs-taken by wire photographer Mannie Garcia-as the one he used.
Well, he "realized" early on that it was Garcia's photo that he had, in fact, used, and then deleted a bunch of shit on his computer to wipe clean evidence that he knew any better. Whoops. Time to confess!
In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions which were mine alone. I am taking every step to correct the information and I regret I did not come forward sooner. I am very sorry to have hurt and disappointed colleagues, friends, and family who have supported me in this difficult case and trying time in my life. I am also sorry because my actions may distract from what should be the real focus of my case – the right to fair use so that all artists can create freely. Regardless of which of the two images was used, the fair use issue should be the same.
Whoops. You can't forget: Fairey's also lawsuit happy to artists who ape or parody his stuff, so it's hard to feel too bad for Fairey, even if he is trying to cover his legal costs and make a complex argument by being an asshole to someone els just like him. Birds of a feather. Also, Fairey lied to Bucky Turco at ANIMAL New York in an email, but Bucky doesn't get his own apology from Fairey. Short end of the stick, these bloggers get. That's HOPE for you.