In the answer to The AP's counterclaims we filed yesterday, we included a dozen examples of AP photographs The AP sells, which consist almost entirely of the copyrighted artwork of Fairey and other artists.
Today, The AP issued a statement accusing Fairey of "making attacks" on The AP and "deliberately omitt[ing]" the "newsgathering context in which the various images were generated and in which they are used."
The funny part about this is Fairey doesn't allege The AP's photos are illegal or infringing, much less "attack" The AP. The point is very simple: The AP applies an obvious double-standard. It is happy to sell, through its image licensing database, photographs that are really just bare copies of artists' work, yet it condemns Fairey for using an AP photograph in a far more creative, transformative, expressive and defensible way. Fairey's allegations don't say the AP shouldn't be allowed to do what it does. These allegations -- and the AP's response -- just demonstrate The AP demands wide leeway for its use of other artists' work, but insists that others, like Fairey, are entitled to much less leeway.
As for "newsgathering," The AP misses the point again. While the photographs may have originally been taken for the purpose of newsgathering, they are presently for sale on The AP's image licensing database as a commercial product for "professional photo buyers."
So let's get this straight: We're not alleging The AP's photographs infringe anyone's rights, or demanding The AP stop doing the excellent work it does. We simply contend The AP should have to play by a consistent set of rules. We contend fair use should apply broadly -- for everyone. If The AP's bare copies of other artists' work are protected by fair use, then Fairey's significantly more transformative and expressive work has to be, too.