Ambiguous DMCA provision looms large in AP/Obama poster suit

24 03 2009

Call it a case of life imitating art imitating art: Shepard Fairey, who made his name via an iconic, glowering image bearing the caption “OBEY,” is now catching glowers of his own for failing to obey the name captions on an iconic image.

By now, the story of Fairey’s legal dispute with the Associated Press is nearly as familiar as the ubiquitous portrait of Barack Obama—based on an AP photographer’s original picture—that spawned the court battle. But earlier this week, Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Fred von Lohmann pointed out an intriguing neglected detail of the case: In addition to garden variety copyright infringement, AP has charged the artist with violating the “copyright management information” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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