My good friend Peter Friedman has outlined more reasons why he thinks the Associated Press will fail in their pursuit of Shep Fairey (the text in bold being added by me for clarity's sake):
(1) It's Transformative: As I’ve already made clear, I am convinced of that Fairey’s image sufficiently transforms the image of the AP photograph to be considered genuinely tranformative. Except for the fact that both are plainly images of Obama and that in both his expression and the tilt of his head are the same, the two images are entirely different. They are so different, in fact, that for many, many months no one, much less AP, was even able to identify the image from which Fairey started from. The physical changes Fairey has rendered to the image are plain. He has changed elements, and, through his painting style, simplified the elements significantly. In one image, you have all the complex information of a photo; in the other you have three colors arranged in a small number of blocks and lines. Finally, the photo could not possibly have become an iconic image of the presidential campaign. The Fairey poster did.
(2) The Nature of the Copyrighted Work: The AP photo is a generic wire service photo. While photography is, of course, a creative endeavor, some images are more creative than others, and the AP photo of Obama is about as generic as they come. First, it’s an image of the most recognizable face in the world. Second, there is nothing special about it. This generic nature of the work is emphasized by the fact, as I pointed out above, that it took months before someone (not from AP), after scouring the internet on a search for the source of Fairey’s image, finally found the right one. AP had not even known its copyright image was part of a poster that was visible all over the country and in all the media.
(3) The Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Taken: In fact, this might be the factor that counts most seriously against Fairey, but even this factor is, I believe, a close call. As i explained above, about all Fairey’s image ultimately uses is the expression and the tilt of Obama’s head. The very nature of the image is changed from that of a photograph to that of a semi-abstract painting. The background is changed. The color of the tie (a generic tie on a generic suit) is changed. The circular Obama symbol on the suit’s lapel is added. And, of course, the word “HOPE” is added.
(4) The Effect of the Use Upon the Potential Market. This factor, which in the past has been referred to as the most important factor, isn’t even close. Fairey’s image has obviously had NO negative impact on the market for the AP photo. The only possible effect, a likely one, is that it has substantially increased the value of AP’s copyrighted image.