There's an interesting saga playing out between the Associated Press and street artist Shepard Fairey, whose poster of Barack Obama looking resolute with the word HOPE in bold letters below him, has become the most famous icon of this... icon. Fairey has publicly confirmed his painting is based on a photograph taken by Mannie Garcia on assignment for the AP and the AP now wants credit and compensation. I was worried that this case would be settled behind closed doors, shutting out the public from this important discussion and all its ramifications. It looks like Fairey has allayed my fears as earlier this week he brought suit against the AP, asking a judge to prove that he has used the original photo without copyright infringement, and is protected under "fair use" by creating something new from the original.
What a great debate for classrooms! What's "copy-right" and what's "copy-wrong"? Simply supply students with articles like these two from the New York Times (here and here) or whatever other article you find out there, and open up the great debate.
I have my own opinion on how this should play out, but I'm more interested in your students' and your opinion. Here's a survey which I hope you can use to get the conversation going in your classroom. (You can keep track of the results HERE).