Obama ‘HOPE’ artist and AP settle copyright claims

NEW YORK — The Associated Press and the artist who created the Barack Obama “HOPE” image have agreed to settle their copyright infringement claims against each other in a deal that calls for them to work together on future projects involving the news agency’s pictures.

Both sides announced the agreement in a joint release Wednesday, ending a fight that began after Shepard Fairey’s art based on a 2006 AP photograph became an iconic image in Obama’s presidential campaign.

Fairey sued the AP in 2009, seeking a court declaration that he did not violate AP’s copyrights with the Obama image. The AP countersued, saying he did through his uncredited, uncompensated use of its picture.

As part of the deal, Fairey agreed to not use another AP photograph in his work without obtaining a license from the news cooperative. The two sides also reached a financial settlement; terms weren’t disclosed.

The release said neither side surrenders its view of the legal issues surrounding the dispute. The deal also calls for both sides to work together with the “HOPE” image and share rights to make posters and merchandise based on it.

“AP will continue to celebrate the outstanding work of its award-winning photographers and use revenue from the licensing of those photos to support its mission as the essential provider of news and photography from around the world,” said Tom Curley, the AP’s president and CEO.

“The AP will continue to vigilantly protect its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use,” he said in the release.

Fairey and the AP have agreed to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs.

“I respect the work of photographers, as well as recognize the need to preserve opportunities for other artists to make fair use of photographic images,” Fairey said in a statement. “I often collaborate with photographers in my work, and I look forward to working with photos provided by the AP’s talented photographers.”

The deal also settled claims brought against several companies involved in producing and marketing merchandise related to the Obama image. However, the AP’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Obey Clothing, the marketer of apparel with the Obama image, remained set for a March trial.

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