Shepard Fairey settled his copyright infringement and Hope merch-related lawsuits with the AP for a hefty, hefty $1.6 million but there was still the matter of Fairey’s lying destroying records and creating fake documents. He pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt, and though the prosecutors insisted on a jail sentence, Shep got off with a $25,000 fine, two years probation and 300 hours of community service.
He could have served up to 6 months and jail and paid out a whopping $3.2 million, considering how much money his companies made peddling the Obama image.
Fairey’s lawyer has referred to the fiasco as “the worst mistake of his life” and said that the street artist suffered “public shaming” that “will now be a permanent scarlet letter for Shepard to wear.” No jokes about it being in “HOPE” font please.
UPDATE: In a statement following the sentence. Highlights:
I accept full responsibility for violating the Court’s trust by tampering with evidence during my civil case with the Associated Press… I accept the Judge’s sentence and look forward to finally putting this episode behind me. My wrong-headed actions, born out of a moment of fear and embarrassment, have not only been financially and psychologically costly to myself and my family, but also helped to obscure what I was fighting for in the first place— the ability of artists everywhere to be inspired and freely create art without reprisal…
I believed, and still believe, that I had a very strong Fair Use case, which I could have prevailed…
The damage to my own reputation is dwarfed by the regret I feel for clouding the issues of the Fair Use case. I let down artists and advocates for artist’s rights by distracting from the core Fair Use discussion with my misdeeds. The decision today will, I hope, mark an ending to what, for me, has been a deeply regrettable chapter. But the larger principles at stake—Fair Use and Artists’ Freedom—are still in jeopardy, and I hope we will remain vigilant in depending on the Freedom of Expression.
Read the full statement here.