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AP accuses Shepard Fairey of more lying [Updated]

October 20, 2009 |  1:26 pm


The Associated Press today accused Shepard Fairey of lying again in their ongoing fair-use legal battle, saying that the artist's allegations that he made a "mistake" about which photograph he used to create the Obama "HOPE" poster are not credible.

In an amendment to its countersuit filed today in a New York court, the AP claimed that "it is simply not credible that Fairey somehow forgot in January 2009 which source image he used to create" the work in question. The AP added that it believes Fairey concocted his version of events to "spin" his subsequent cover-up in the best light possible.

On Friday, Fairey said he was "mistaken" about which photograph he used as the inspiration for the poster. "While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong," he said in a statement.

In the same statement, Fairey admitted that he sent false images and deleted other images to conceal his mistake.

Laura Malone, a lawyer for the AP, said in a statement today that Fairey filed his court claims "apparently without first investigating the relevant records as one would have expected him to do, making the idea that he made a genuine ‘mistake’ even more suspect."

A spokesman for the artist did not have an immediate response to the AP's accusations.

As part of today's amendment, the AP said it has added Obey Clothing -- a brand launched by Fairey -- as a defendant in its counterclaim.

The AP said it has recently obtained evidence that contradicts Fairey's claims that he has not profited from use of the AP image.

Fairey has stated that regardless of which images he used for the poster, "the fair use issue should be the same."

[Updated at 3:34 p.m.] A spokesman for Fairey issued a statement this afternoon in response to the AP's claims. “Shepard continues to stand by his statement from last Friday. He has apologized and taken responsibility for his actions," said the spokesman.

He added that the AP is "diverting the debate from the central question," which is whether Fairey transformed the original photographic image into a work of art.

-- David Ng

Photo: a juxtaposition of an AP photo of Barack Obama and the poster by Shepard Fairey. Credit: Mannie Garcia / Associated Press

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Shepard Fairey's lawyers say they have not yet withdrawn from AP case

Comments () | Archives (8)

AP has taken a turn to the Right politically recently. Has anyone looked into this lawsuit as retaliation for political reasons?

Artists have always borrowed from stimulus around them. I can understand Koons being sued by a virtually unknown photographer for the puppy piece since Koons is successful and the photographer is not. But AP is vastly bigger, more lucrative than Fairey. If Fairey had painted a traditional oil on canvas portrait based on the AP photo, would they be asking for a percentage of sales?

Koons used a photo as the basis for a sculpture, he did not scan a photo, change the colors and call it his own. when you look at the originals in the fairey case, everyone can see he stole the image. how dumb do you have to be to then go and lie about it. Fairey is not respected in the art world because his work is not considered fine art. Koons is and this is because he works in a conceptual and far deeper way than merely creating graphic design.

so let's review: Fairey has no art OR street cred whatsoever, nordstroms sells those ugly obey shirts, and he basically steals someone's art and calls it his own, then lies about it.

A MLM states artists are expected and encouraged to appropriate anything the feel entitled to use to "create" new art based on the "stimulus" around them.
Being skilled enough to create a portrait in any media that is changed enough from the original source to become original is the point. That approach is poison to the art world. Farley like most contemporary artists cannot draw, they must steal and alter images. Creating original art is not valued by the art world ever since Andy Warhol stopped drawing and Duchamp started declaring random objects art.

Fairey is a graphic artist, an applied art, not a fine artist or certainly a creative one. But no matter the field he is in, plagiarism is still stealing. All artists have influences, and oten build from those who preceded them, but relying on an image for its impact, or exact copying is not art. Appropriation is only OK when used in a collage way, where each image contributes to a greater one, that does not rely on anyone elses work for its stimulation of mind, body and soul. Qualities ignored in the art Academy's of today.

Its really quite simple, but as WW states, since they dont teach art skills anymore in art schools, this is what we get. Once talent returns to creative art, and sees it as a viable and meaningful field, something it has not been for decades outside a literal handful, we will once again have someting to put in those acres and acres of huge open spaces in meaningless museums built in an orgy of mausoleum building over the last few decades. For now, most can be trashed, its just fashionable games for those with too much time and money on their hands.

art collegia delenda est

Sorry, meant to say graphic Designer. He has no art skills, my wife does both. There is a difference.

Hate to break it to you, but the original photo was just a happy accident anyway. Fairey STOLE this photo? In what way does the original photographer OWN this image anyway? Practically anyone similarly situated, with a big, expensive telephoto lens, could have achieved exactly the same image. It's not particularly novel in any way. Frankly, it's Obama's image as much as it is the photographer's. So Fairey used this image to create a new work based on the original. The photographer used Obama's posture and situation to create a new work based on the original. What's the difference?

There is a naïve logic to what you say A, but he's got to take the photo himself to be original, or extrapolate from it so much it becomes his own... Anything else is technically plagiarism. That's just the way it is. That said AP needs to quietly cut a deal with him the little liar, then shut the heck up and move on to the next teapot.

P. Schimmel, to say, "Koons used a photo as the basis for a sculpture, he did not scan a photo, change the colors and call it his own. " really proves you know nothing about what it takes to make something like this. I am not some big Fairey supporter, but to do something like this WELL, even with the "magic of computers," you must tediously create all the curves of every shape. This type of line art is a lot more than just changing colors or applying some filter in photoshop. If you look closely enough, every single line is different in the poster than the photo. There are generators online you can use to make a photo look like this yourself. Try one and see how great it comes out.


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