Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty in “Hope” Poster Case

Shepard Fairey (photo: christianrholland/flickr)

Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt for manufacturing evidence, destroying documents, and other misconduct in his case involving his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama. Reprehensible that he did behave so badly. It makes him look like a spoiled little rich kid who was trying to cover his ass when he got caught doing something wrong.

Last year, Fairey settled with the Associated Press over the misappropriation of (former) AP freelancer Manny Garcia’s photograph of Obama, which was snapped in 2006. Fairey originally claimed Fair Use, but a settlement was urged by a judge in the case.

As part of that settlement, which included an undisclosed sum, Fairey agreed to license any AP photos he may wish to use in future art work. Additionally, both the AP and Fairey will share the rights to create merchandise based on the image–and that means the profits from those items. At the time of the AP filing suit against Fairey, Garcia said according to his contract with the AP he owns the copyright to the photograph, and that he is proud of the image and happy what Fairey did with it. However,

I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet. But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.

Fairey faces up to six months in prison, a year’s probation and fines of $5,000 in the criminal case. The hand painted version of the “Hope” poster that Fairey created on canvas as a commission hangs in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gallery.

Ouch! “Yankee Hipster” Shepard Fairey Beaten in Copenhagen

Artist Shepard Fairey–whose Obama “Hope” poster became the iconic emblem of the 2008 Obama campaign, and the centerpiece of Fair Use vs copyright lawsuit which the artist lost–was beaten up in Copenhagen after leaving the opening of his exhibition there. The attackers called him

Obama illuminati

and gave him a black eye and cracked ribs. Earlier, Fairey’s mural commemorating the 2007 demolition of the legendary leftist commune “Ungdomshuset” (youth house) at Jagtvej 69 was defaced with the words

Go home, Yankee hipster

Now that hurts!

The Guardian reports

Fairey’s installation, painted on a building adjacent to the vacant site, depicted a dove in flight above the word “peace” and the figure “69″. But the mural appeared to reopen old wounds, with critics accusing Fairey of peddling government-funded propaganda…

Within a day of completion, the mural was vandalised by protesters, with graffiti sending messages of “no peace” and “go home, Yankee hipster”. Fairey subsequently collaborated with former members of the 69 youth house to redecorate the lower half of the installation. His new version contains images of riot police and explosions, together with a new, more combative slogan: “Nothing forgotten, nothing forgiven”.

Fairey told the Guardian that

The media reported that it was commissioned by the city, which wasn’t true.

He added his Copenhagen gallery organized the mural and that he did not report the attack to the police:

I’m not a huge fan of the cops anyway. The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like ‘street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can’t hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops.’

Fairey has been arrested numerous times for committing street art, most recently in February of 2009, when cops nabbed him on outstanding warrants before he began DJing at the opening of his Institute of Contemporary Art exhibit Supply and Demand. Recently, Mrs. Fairey told TMZ that it was

a long time ago

when Shepard did his own street art postering, much to Fairey’s evident displeasure. Double ouch.


photo: screen grab, TMZ ; H/T: LAWeekly