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A shocking revelation has just come to light in the ongoing battle between Sheppard Fairey and the Associated Press. The Associated Press released a statement last night claiming that Mr. Fairey knowingly submitted false images to the legal proceeding between Mr. Fairey and the Associated Press. Furthermore the statement reveals “that Fairey tried to destroy documents that would have revealed which image he actually used” and that “he created fake documents as part of his effort to conceal which photo was the source image, including hard copy printouts of an altered version of the Clooney Photo and fake stencil patterns of the Hope and Progress posters.”
This case started back in February when the Associated Press claimed that the source image Mr. Fairey used for his iconic “Hope” and “Progress” posters of then Senator Barack Obama did in fact belong to them. They also claimed that Fairey’s use of the image was a copyright infringement. Before The Associated Press could file a law suit against Mr. Fairey, Fairey’s legal team filed a suit against The Associated Press claiming fair use exception and that the image Fairey used as his source was completely different than the one The Associated Press declared was theirs.
At this juncture it’s worth mentioning that there is a valid dispute between the Associated Press and Mannie Garcia, the photographer who shot the image in question, as to who is the legal copyright holder of the photograph. Although that disagreement has little bearing on Mr. Fairey’s illegal actions announced today.
As I first wrote here at RESOLVE, Fairey’s use of the image without giving attribution to the photographer was detrimental to the entire creative community. It will be hard to predict the impact from this latest twist in an already bizarre story. Mr. Fairey’s legal counsel apparently jumped ship after submitting the admissions about his evidence tampering to the court.