Photographer Whose Photo Was Used for Shepard Fairey’s “HOPE” Drops Suit Against AP

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Thinking back to where the last few years have gone, it is at least a little surprising to think that the iconic “HOPE” image of President Obama has been floating around for almost two and a half years. The presence of that image in this city is still very much felt, and the original was purchased by the Smithsonian and now a part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery.

In the last few years, there has been more than one law suit involving the artist (Shepard Fairey) and the Associated Press, who argued that Fairey’s reimagination of a photo taken by one its contributors, Mannie Garcia, was not only a crucial piece of the work but in fact infringing on the copyright. Countersuits started to fly, and as resolution is still sought on the copyright side of things between the artist and the AP, there was one other point of conflict.

Garcia, local to the DMV and hailing from Kensington, Maryland, filed a claim against the AP about ownership of the photo. The question at hand: as the photographer, should he be the one who reaps any benefit from the suit with Fairey, at least moreso than the organization?  Garcia sued the AP, the AP sued back, and both disputes have been drawn out for some time. No longer: over the weekend, the AP (ironically) reported that Garcia and the AP have each dropped their suits against each other.

The AP and Fairey had yet to settle or head to trial.

Dave Levy is a PR guy by day, a media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek. He blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing digital media world at State of the Fourth Estate. You can follow Dave on Twitter for various updates about everything from sports from his previous home in Boston to eccentric and obscure pop culture references. Read why Dave loves D.C.

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