Funny That The AP Didn't Report On A Judge Denying Sanctions Against Shepard Fairey

from the too-busy-covering-oil-spills dept

We've been covering the ongoing legal battle between artist Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press over whether or not Fairey's famous Obama "Hope" poster infringed on the AP's copyrights. It's difficult to see how the AP has a case here, as the AP itself didn't recognize the work as being based on one of its own photos until months later when someone else figured it out. If that's not a clear cut case of transformative use, I don't know what is. On top of that, there are serious questions about whether or not anything that Fairey used is actually covered by copyright. Even if you assume there is copyrighted material in the poster, going through the four factors test for fair use, it's difficult to see how the AP has a case.

That said, Fairey did make one incredibly dumb mistake, which potentially ruined his whole case: he lied and destroyed evidence. It's difficult to think of anything stupider that he could have done. He had an incredibly strong case, and his actions massively weakened that case, because even if you recognize the strong position he had in the case, once you hear that he lied and destroyed evidence, it gives you pause, and makes you question the whole thing.

That said, we'd noticed that the AP's coverage of the case hardly seemed objective, and despite supposedly being impartial reporting on a topic that involved the AP itself, almost always seemed to slant towards the AP.

So, it's interesting to note that, last week, apparently, a judge (surprisingly) denied the AP's request for sanctions against Fairey for some of his actions during this case. That seems like fairly big news in the case, but if you look around for it, it does not appear that the AP deemed it was worthy to report on. I wonder why... Update: Just to clarify, as someone asked, this particular request for sanctions wasn't about the particular mistake discussed above, but some of Fairey's responses. I had tried to make that clear, but perhaps it wasn't clear enough.

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