AP Settles Remaining Lawsuits Over ‘Hope’ Image

The Associated Press says it has settled its copyright infringement claim against Obey Clothing and three of its big retail customers–Nordstrom’s, Urban Outfitters, and Zumiez Inc.–for sale and distributions of merchandise bearing the iconic ‘Hope’ image created by artist Shepard Fairey.

“This settlement marks the final resolution of the disputes over our rights in the AP’s photograph of Barack Obama,” AP president and CEO Tom Curley said in a prepared statement. He added,  “AP is proud of the result and will continue to vigorously defend its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use.”

Fairey created the Hope image from a 2006 AP photograph of Barack Obama without permission. Two years ago, AP sued Fairey and Obey Clothing, a company Fairey founded, for copyright infringement.

This past January, AP and reached a legal truce with Fairey. Both sides agreed to share revenues from future licensing of the Hope image. As part of the settlement, neither side conceded its legal position: AP continues to consider Fairey’s work an infringement, while Fairey continued to consider it a fair use of the AP photo.

AP’s claim against Obey Clothing, meanwhile, has continued–until now.  And it was only a week ago that AP filed its infringement claims against the three retailers that were allegedly obtaining “Hope” merchandise from Obey Clothing.  Those claims have also been settled “amicably,” AP says.

Under the terms of its settlement with Obey Clothing, AP says, the clothing company “will collaborate to create and sell apparel using Shepard Fairey’s graphics based on photographs owned by the AP.  Obey Clothing has further agreed that it will not use another AP photo without obtaining a license from the AP.”

AP says that neither side has “surrender[ed] ist view of the law.” In other words, AP still maintains that Obey Clothing infringed its copyright, while Obey Clothing hold fast to its position that it didn’t appropriate any copyrightable material from the AP photograph in question.

Those settlement terms are nearly identical to AP’s settlement terms with Shepard Fairey.

Related:

Shepard Fairey, AP Settle Copyright Lawsuit

AP Sues Retailers for Unauthorized Use of ‘Hope’ Image

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