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Judge rules Shepard Fairey can switch lawyers in AP case

November 10, 2009 |  2:04 pm

Fairey

Artist Shepard Fairey is set to change his legal team after a federal judge denied a request by the Associated Press to halt the switch.

The Los Angeles-based street artist, who is currently embroiled in a fair-use suit with the AP over his "Hope" poster of Barack Obama, admitted in October that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings.

Soon after, his legal team, headed by Anthony Falzone of Stanford University's Fair Use Project, said to various parties that it intended to withdraw from the legal proceedings at an undetermined date.

On Monday, the AP filed papers in a Manhattan federal court asking that the request to change lawyers be turned down because Fairey's attorneys have “unique knowledge” that is germane to the case.

The AP also stated that a change in counsel would cause "additional prejudice and undue delay," according to the papers.

On Tuesday morning, a judge ruled against the AP, thus paving the way for Fairey's new team to assume its place.

The artist's new legal representation will consist of Geoffrey Stewart and Meir Feder of the law firm Jones Day.  Also joining the team will be William Fisher, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, as well as John Palfrey, another Harvard Law professor. (Harvard Law School itself does not have a role in Fairey's representation.)

Sources have told The Times that Fairey is likely to be sanctioned as a result of his misconduct during the case. When the court will hand down those possible sanctions is unclear.

Fairey has stated that the fair-use issue at the center of the legal dispute remains unchanged, even though he has admitted that he used a certain image by AP photographer Mannie Garcia for his "Hope" poster.

The artist and the AP have filed a series of suits and countersuits against each other relating to the case.

-- David Ng

Photo: Shepard Fairey at the symbolic re-creation of the Berlin Wall in Los Angeles earlier this week. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

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