Shepard Fairey, AP trial date set for March

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It appears that the long-running legal saga between artist Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press will drag on well into 2011.

A judge in New York has set a March trial date in the case that pits Fairey against the news organization in a fair-use battle involving the artist’s ‘Hope’ poster, which depicts then-Sen. Barack Obama.


The trial in New York will begin selection for an eight-member jury on March 21, said U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on Monday. The trial is expected to take three weeks.

Fairey, a Los Angeles-based street artist, is accused of copyright infringement for using an Associated Press photo as inspiration for his ‘Hope’ poster. The artist’s legal team maintains that his use of the photo is protected by fair-use laws.

On Monday, a lawyer for Fairey said the artist would appear in court to show the judge and jury how he made the poster.

Last week, Mannie Garcia, the freelance photographer who took the photo of Obama in 2006 for the Associated Press, dropped his claims against the news agency in which he had stated he held the copyright to the photograph.

In October 2009, Fairey admitted that he knowingly submitted false images and engaged in other wrongdoing in connection with the case. The artist is under criminal investigation as a result of his actions.

-- David Ng

Photos, from top: A version of Shepard Fairey’s ‘Hope’ poster, shown hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Credit: Michael Reynolds / EPA. Fairey at a reception for the current Dennis Hopper exhibition at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Credit: Stefanie Keenan / Wireimage



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