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Law School Defends Obama Image

Publication Date: 
February 17, 2009
The Stanford Daily
Robert Toews

Lecturer in Law and Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthone Falzone is quoted in The Stanford Daily in a story about a fair use copyright case involving a famous Obama poster created by Shepard Fairey:

Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project is embroiled in a highly publicized copyright case involving the popular red and blue Obama “Hope” poster, which became a ubiquitous symbol of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign over the past two years. Heading the legal team is Anthony Falzone, a lecturer at the law school and the executive director of the Fair Use Project.

The case centers around the fact that street artist Shepard Fairey used a news photograph from the Associated Press (AP) as the basis for the poster. Last week, the AP announced it had determined that it owned the photograph, accused Fairey of copyright infringement and demanded a portion of any revenue he received from use of the image. Falzone is defending Fairey against these charges.

In response to the AP’s accusations, Falzone and the Stanford Fair Use Project team preemptively filed a lawsuit last week asking a federal judge to declare that Fairey is protected from copyright infringement claims.

“There should be no doubt about the legality of Fairey’s work,” Falzone said in a press release. “He used the photograph for a purpose entirely different than the original, and transformed it dramatically. The original photograph is a literal depiction of Obama, whereas Fairey’s poster creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message that has no analogue in the original photograph.”