Judge throws out Obama art lawsuits

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A judge has dismissed copyright lawsuits between the artist who created an iconic portrait of Barack Obama and the Associated Press.

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said it appeared that the artist, Shepard Fairey, and AP had reached a settlement. He said the claims could be reinstated within a month if either side requested it.

The agency tried to claim compensation from the artist in February last year for his use of one of its photographs. The picture was taken in 2006 when Mr Obama, then a senator from Illinois, was at the National Press Club in Washington. Fairey, a New York street artist, created his portrait during Mr Obama's 2008 run for the presidency. The red, white and blue image is of a determined-looking Mr Obama gazing upward, with the caption "Hope".

In 2009 the artist sued AP, seeking a declaration that he did not violate its copyrights. AP then countersued, saying the uncredited use of its picture violated copyright laws.