In an interesting turn of events, artist Shepard Fairey has admitted to using a different photo than the one he originally claimed as the source for his Obama Hope poster. He’s also admitted that he made up information and destroyed other evidence, all in an effort to support his fair use claim in his suit against the AP. The end result is that his lawyers have withdrawn from the case citing the same points as the AP.
You are Shepard Fairey. Through skill, experience, and luck you manage to create what is the most iconic graphic image of your generation. Your career should be set. When questions arise about your source material you can admit to the source of the image, settle with the photographer and his representatives (*in this case the AP), and any issues will go away. Or you can do what is described above. Hard to believe the latter route was even considered viable.
*I don’t think it’s been resolved yet but there is a dispute between the photographer, Mannie Garcia, and the AP as to who owns the copyright to the images in question. It has little to do with Fairey’s actions since Garcia created both photos. It would only point to whom Fairey must deal with in resolving this.