Shepard Fairey was sentenced to two years probation and hit with a $25,000 fine in a Manhattan federal court on Friday, the New York Times reports, seven months after the artist pleaded guilty to a criminal contempt charge over his iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Fairey admitted then to tampering with evidence, destroying records, and fabricating documents to cover up his use of an Associated Press photo of Obama as source material for his image, which became a symbol of the 2008 presidential election.
Fairey settled his own civil case against the AP out of court last year; in the suit, filed in 2009, Fairey had argued that his image amounted to fair use of the photograph under copyright law, but that argument was undermined when Fairey revealed that he had been wrong about which photograph he used and had tried to cover up the error.
In a statement issued after today’s sentencing, Fairey said, “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.”
The AP also had a statement, with president and chief executive Gary Pruitt saying, “After spending a great amount of time, energy and legal effort, all of us at the Associated Press are glad this matter is finally behind us. We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content.”