A copyright battle over a photo of US President Barack Obama used to help create the famous Obama Hope poster, and related merchandise, has been settled.

The Associated Press (AP) claimed that Shepard Fairey, a New York street artist, used an AP portrait of Obama in the Hope poster without seeking the news agency?s permission.

The photo was captured by Mannie Garcia in 2006.

Fairey denied he had appropriated copyrighted material from the image (see below) and claimed that use of the photo constituted ‘fair use’ under copyright law.

AP filed a lawsuit claiming that Fairey copied all of the original, creative expression in the photo, without crediting or compensating the agency and that Fairey’s ‘unlicensed’ use of the image was ‘not fair use’.

The agency has struck a financial agreement, details of which have not been disclosed, according to a press statement issued by the agency this afternoon.

Both parties have also agreed that ‘neither side surrenders its view of the law’.

In its statement AP said: ‘The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs.’

Fairey told the agency: ‘I respect the work of photographers and recognise the need to preserve opportunities for other artists to make fair use of photographic images.’

AP said it continues to pursue legal action against Obey Clothing, a firm which sells products bearing the Hope image.

Hope poster

Picture: The Hope campaign poster is available to buy from websites such as this one at