The Associated Press is going after Shepard Fairey and his famous Obama "Hope" campaign poster. AP's lawyers contacted Fairey's lawyers about copyright infringement.
When I photographed Shepard, we asked him about where he got the image, he was straight forward saying he found the image on Google images and began working his magic. He then went on to describe the process in creating his iconic image of President Obama. It was obvious he felt confident that he was not infringing on copyright laws. At the time I think he said he didn't know who the photographer was.
I have been watching recently as different photographers were being given credit for the photo, including a Reuters photog. AP photographer Mannie Garcia was finally agreed upon as the source of the original image of Obama. Will this backfire on the AP and become a pr nightmare? Bottom line for me, as a photojournalist, if that was my image, I would expect to be paid a licensing fee.