The saga of Shepard Fairey’s conflict with the Associated Press has taken a strange turn. Fairey seems to have misled his lawyers and filed false papers in his lawsuits to hide his mistake in using the AP photo at the center of a legal dispute about his famous Hope poster. The AP has the story, natch:
Attorneys for Fairey have withdrawn and, in papers filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan, stated that he misled them. They also amended the original court documents, reflecting that Fairey used a different picture.
”Mr. Fairey was apparently mistaken about the photograph he used when his original complaint for declaratory relief was filed on February 9, 2009,” the papers say. ”After the original complaint was filed, Mr. Fairey realized his mistake. Instead of acknowledging that mistake, Mr. Fairey attempted to delete the electronic files he had used in creating the illustration at issue. He also created, and delivered to his counsel for production, new documents to make it appear as though he had used the Clooney photograph as his reference.”
Fairey’s lawyers can’t be happy with him. No one likes to be lied to but a lawyer really doesn’t want to be duped into filing false claims. We know the AP is jumping on this to further their copyright claim against the artist.
In a statement issued Friday, AP vice president and general counsel Srinandan R. Kasi said Fairey’s admission struck ”at the heart” of Fairey’s defense that he was protected by ”fair use.”
”Shepard Fairey has now been forced to admit that he sued the AP under false pretenses by lying about which AP photograph he used to make the Hope and Progress posters,” Kasi said. ”Mr. Fairey has also now admitted to the AP that he fabricated and attempted to destroy other evidence in an effort to bolster his fair use case and cover up his previous lies and omissions.”
Kasi said the AP would continue to ”vigorously pursue its countersuit alleging that Fairey willfully infringed the AP’s copyright in the close-up photo of then-Sen. Obama.”
Hope Poster Artist Admits Error (NYTimes)