The Associated Press seems to have an unusual interpretation of "hope." By all appearances, it involves suing everyone the AP can find over the artistic alteration and use of a photo of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. One might think the AP would appreciate a work of art that firmly established its own relevance in an increasingly difficult landscape for old-school media, but hey. Apparently, lawsuits are much more satisfying.
The AP has sued Urban Outfitters
The AP seeks an undisclosed amount of damages from the retailers. It previously sued artist Fairey directly, but the two parties settled in January.
The AP's continued litigation includes its contention that commercial sale of such photos without credit or compensation "devalues" the work of journalists, and somehow "undermines the AP's ability to cover the news." (Don't ask me how that's supposed to work.)
To me, the AP's charge toward the courtroom looks like the stumbling of a dying dinosaur. Having your image become iconic isn't exactly a terrible fate, and would the picture have become so widely seen without Fairey's alterations?
Legal action is always a bit ominous for companies' shareholders, since it could result in material (and profit-pinching) financial repercussions. These retailers' shareholders might want to look on the bright side, though. There are worse, more potentially devastating lawsuits to contemplate in the retail realm.
Case in point: American Apparel
In comparison, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Zumiez shareholders can take some comfort. Being sued over art may not be such a bad thing after all.
Alyce Lomax owns shares of Urban Outfitters; for more on this and other topics, check back at Fool.com, or follow her on Twitter: @AlyceLomax. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.