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Shepard Fairey lawyer says fair-use case isn't over yet

June 1, 2010 | 11:12 am

Shepard Fairey A lawyer for Shepard Fairey said the legal battle between the Los Angeles street artist and the Associated Press was far from over, despite a recent AP article to the contrary.

On Friday, an AP story quoted federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein as saying, "Whether it's sooner or later, the Associated Press is going to win" the case. In the story, a lawyer for the AP said the news organization owned the copyright to the photograph that Fairey used in creating his "Hope" poster of Barack Obama and that the artist had violated the copyright.

Geoffrey Stewart, who represents Fairey in the case, disputes the implications in the AP story.

"We don't believe Judge Hellerstein's statement in court today indicates a prejudgment of the case," said Stewart in a statement that was e-mailed to The Times.

"We continue to believe there is a strong basis for fair use in this case, and Judge Hellerstein made clear that he hasn't even begun to focus on the fair use issues."

Stewart is an attorney at the law firm Jones Day, where he specializes in cases involving fraud and misconduct. He joined Fairey's legal team in late 2009 after the artist's previous attorneys stepped down.

The L.A. artist admitted in October that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings involving the "Hope" poster. He is currently facing a criminal probe in connection to his admitted misconduct.

Fairey's representatives have repeatedly questioned AP's reporting on the case, saying that the organization's stories are an extension of its legal strategy.

-- David Ng

Photo: Shepard Fairey arrives at Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop" premiere in L.A. in April 2010. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

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