Was Shepard Fairey’s use fair?

Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey poses in front of the Barack Obama Hope artwork he designed in this 2009 photo. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press / September 8, 2012)

Last week Shepard Fairey was sentenced to two years probation and a $25,000 fine for tampering with evidence in his copyright battle with the Associated Press. Some, including prosecutor Daniel Levy, felt Fairey should have served jail time. Levy contends, “A sentence without any term of imprisonment sends a terrible message to those who might commit the same sort of criminal conduct.”

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“Hope” Poster – Fair Use or Copyright Infringment?

On left, Obama “Hope” poster designed by Shepard Fairey. On right, original AP photograph of Barack Obama taken by Manny Garcia in April 2006.

One of the most celebrated works of campaign art in American history, Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster, was added to the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. The poster has also been the focus of a copyright-infringement lawsuit between Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press.

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