While the lawsuit between Shepard Fairey and the AP was settled in January, there was still a suit between Obey Clothing and the AP. That suit was finally settled, according to PDN Pulse. Both suits surrounded Fairey’s Hope portrait of Obama from a few years ago.
The terms of the settlement with Obey Clothing (as well as some of the retailers who sold clothing with Hope on it) include three important points:
1. Neither side is backing down and admitting that they were wrong. They both get to stick to their beliefs (the AP that the use of a photo they owned as the basis for Hope being infringement and Obey Clothing that it was fair use).
2. Obey Clothing “will not use another AP photo without obtaining a license from the AP.”
3. (and here’s why I say this series of unfortunate events is almost over) Obey Clothing “will collaborate to create and sell apparel using Shepard Fairey’s graphics based on photographs owned by the AP.”
You may remember these terms as sounding pretty familiar as they are pretty much identical to the terms of the settlement with Shepard Fairey, except dealing with clothing.
And yes, condition #3 does mean that there will probably a series of half-assed-and-photoshopped-in-5-minutes-to-OBEY-specification prints and t-shirts based on some famous photographs that the AP owns the rights to. Does the AP seriously think this is going to make them look good? I know people (including myself) have criticized some pretty low quality prints from Fairey from time to time, but damn, besides just the very real possibility of Shepard making some poor designs in a large enough series, I wouldn’t blame the guy if these upcoming designs based on AP-licensed images were intentionally half-assed just to spite the AP.
Or maybe I’m just writing spitefully because I wish Shepard had seen his day in court to patriotically defend the right of fair use… After all, I did buy a print from him last year.
Photo courtesy of Obeygiant.com