Shepard fairey had a rough february. first the ap threatened to charge the artist, who came to national prominence with his Obama Hope posters, with copyright infringement. Then Boston police arrested him before the opening of his solo show "Supply and Demand" at the Institute for Contemporary Art, after they'd determined Fairey tagged two prominent locations in Boston with Andre the Giant artwork. Even the original "Andre the Giant has a posse" image - which dates back to Fairey's days as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and has appeared everywhere from buildings to gallery shows to branded clothing sold at Urban Outfitters - was appropriated.
If controversy surrounding Fairey got especially heated after he created the Obama posters, it became searing when the ap demanded royalties for the use of one of their photographs in the iconic series of posters. "There should be no doubt about the legality of Fairey's work," says Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, who is leading Fairey's legal team in a preemptive lawsuit against ap. "He used the photograph for a purpose entirely different than the original, and transformed it dramatically .... Nor has Fairey done any harm to the value of the original photograph. Quite the opposite; Fairey has made the photograph immeasurably more valuable."