(This is the second in a series of posts on Fairey v. Associated Press, a copyright infringement case filed in New York on Monday involving the Obama “Hope” poster at right. See the first post.)
There’s one big mystery that AP needs to clear up right away in this case: who owns the copyright in the photograph at left, taken by Mannie Garcia at the National Press Club on April 27, 2006? If the AP doesn’t own any portion of the copyright, but is merely a nonexclusive licensee, then it can’t sue for infringement. Intriguingly, Garcia himself says that he believes he owns the copyright, not AP:
The ownership of the copyright is in dispute, as per the AP. It is my understanding that since I was not a staffer, and was not a freelancer, and did not sign any contract, that I am the owner of the copyright, but I am in discussions with the AP over this issue.
So what are the odds that the AP doesn’t own the copyright in the photo at issue? And if it doesn’t, what does that do to Fairey’s suit for a declaratory judgement?