Some closure to at least one portion of the legal battle overShepard Fairey‘s Obama poster. Mannie Garcia, who was eventually revealed as the photographer took the photo Fairey used as reference for his now iconic illustration, has dropped his lawsuit against the Associated Press. The AP freelancer had filed the suit last summer, right after the AP was in the midst of its ongoing legal tangle against Fairey for copying the image of Obama they hold the copyright to. Garcia claimed instead that it was he who owned the copyright and had sued the AP. Now he’s withdrawn the suit, having apparently been exhausted by the entire process and eager to get back to taking photos. While despite some words two months ago that it would soon be over, the battle still continues between Fairey and the AP (and looks like to stay that way for some time), this is one chapter that’s now officially finished. Here’sthe AP’s official statement:
The Associated Press is very pleased that Mannie Garcia has withdrawn from the case with prejudice, meaning that he cannot refile his claim against the AP. The AP has not wavered in its belief that Mr. Garcia was a staff photographer at the time he took the image of then-Sen. Barack Obama, that AP properly employed Mr. Garcia, and that AP is the rightful copyright owner of the photo in question. Further, the AP is pleased that Mr. Garcia voluntarily withdrew without any payment or consideration of any kind — this was not a settlement.
In a Court hearing on Monday, Judge Alvin Hellerstein indicated that he would sign the stipulation and enter the order. Also in Monday’s hearing, the judge set both a summary judgment schedule and a trial schedule for the case involving Shepard Fairey. The AP is happy to have these dates set. The AP continues to be confident in its position that the use Fairey made of its photo is not fair use, but one that should have been licensed so as to help ensure the AP’s photographers will be able to continue creating new works. The AP looks forward to resolution whether through summary judgment or trial on the merits.