We noted recently Fox News‘ peculiar understanding of the Fair Use doctrine, which allows writers, artists and others to make reasonable use of copyrighted material so long as they don’t infringe on the copyright owners’ commercial rights; Fox interprets this to mean that critics should only be allowed to make use of Fox video if Fox is allowed to sell ads to run alongside the criticism.
Now another corporate media company is making strange claims against Fair Use. The Associated Press is claiming that the well-known “HOPE” poster of Barack Obama violates its copyright, because artist Shepard Fairey used an AP photo as a model for the image.
Here’s a question for AP: If a cartoonist wanted to make reference to the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” image–which is also a copyrighted AP photo–would they have to get your permission first? That’s the implication of their claim about the Obama image. And the end result would be a world where artists can’t talk about the images of our political leaders, because those images come to us via for-profit media–a strange position for a democracy to find itself in.