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Lawsuits

Obama Hope: Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters Sued by Associated Press Over Shepard Fairey-Designed T-Shirts

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 1:46 PM

click to enlarge 'Hope' t-shirt.
  • 'Hope' t-shirt.
The battle between Associated Press and L.A. artist Shepard Fairey over his use of an AP image to create the iconic "Obama Hope" image might be over, but now the news agency is going after retailers such as Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters over their sales of Hope t-shirts.

The stores were sued last week in New York, according to our friends at Seattle Weekly in a piece posted today.

Another retailer (we've never heard of), Zumiez, has also been sued.

Unspecified damages are sought.

AP says it owns the copyright to the original photo of Obama.

It's not an issue that Shepard Fairey is contending anymore, though we'd venture to say that his own Hope piece is somewhat in the public domain now (no?).

Fairey has argued that, while he did use an AP photo, his own rendition was transformative -- and thus a new work.

It's a compelling argument, but not one that would get much traction in a world in which entertainment corporations have bent copyright law to suit their needs.

In any case, he's backed away in order to settle, and so has AP.

Now AP wants its t-shirt money. And that's what this is really all about, innit?

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