Artist Shepard Fairey Sues AP Over Obama Image

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An artist who created a famous image of Barack Obama before he became president has sued The Associated Press.

The lawsuit Monday in federal court in Manhattan says Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey did not violate the AP copyright of a 2006 photograph. The AP has said it is owed credit and compensation for the artist's rendition of the picture.

Lawyers for Fairey acknowledge that the artist used the photograph. But they say he transformed the literal depiction into a "stunning, abstracted and idealized visual image that creates powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message."

The AP has said that the poster is based on one of the news cooperative's photographs and the artist should have asked permission to use it.

Fairey pleaded not guilty Monday to vandalizing property in Boston.

He was released on personal recognizance after his arraignment in Roxbury District Court.

The 38-year-old faces a separate case for another alleged tagging in the city. Both incidents involved Fairey's "Andre the Giant" street art campaign.

Fairey, of Los Angeles, was arrested and released Friday, as he headed to an event kicking off his exhibit at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. He had spent the last two weeks in the Boston area installing the exhibit, giving talks and creating outdoor art.

Fairey has been arrested numerous times for drawing on buildings and other private property without permission.

This program aired on February 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.