NEW YORK -- By now everyone is familiar with the iconic Obama "HOPE" poster, many have even used online generators to customize it with their own personal photos. Shepard Fairey didn't use such a generator to create his version - he used a paintbrush; and then the artist became embroiled in a legal battle over copyright infringement.
Shepard Fairey, designer of the original "HOPE" poster, said he based his artwork on an AP photograph of then-Senator Barack Obama seated next to actor George Clooney. But the AP asserted that Fairey's original painting was actually based on another photo taken at the same event, showing Obama seated alone.
Why does it matter which source image the artist referenced? Because Fairey did not pay for use of the copywritten photographs nor attribute them, claiming his artwork design complied with "fair use" regulations. After the AP sued Fairey for copyright infringement, the artist countersued in February, alleging his interpretation of Obama was dramatically different as it was based on the photo with Clooney.
But in a statement issued Friday, Fairey admitted, "...the AP is correct about which photo I used...and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong. In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images." Attorneys for Fairey have withdrawn from his case, saying the artist misled them.
[Read more - Obama Poster Artist Admits Error | AP]