Hope this is fair use!
Hope this is fair use!

Shepard Fairey, he of the icon con, is about to be the other kind of con — the “vict” kind, as Jim Treacher explains:

By his own admission. If you know anything about the career of this talentless plagiarist, I hope the following news is as satisfying for you as it is for me. NYT:

The street artist Shepard Fairey, whose “Hope” campaign poster of Barack Obama became an enduring symbol of his last presidential campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge stemming from his misconduct in trying to bolster claims in a lawsuit over which photograph had been used as a basis for the poster.

Mr. Fairey, 42, sued The Associated Press in 2009 after it contended he had infringed on the copyright of one of its photographs in creating the poster. Mr. Fairey had claimed in his suit that he had used a different photograph of Mr. Obama, but later admitted that he had been mistaken and had tried to conceal his mistake, by destroying documents and fabricating others…  

Obey the "Hypocrite"'s Lawyers!
Obey the “Hypocrite”‘s Lawyers!

Mr. Fairey, of Los Angeles, pleaded to one count of criminal contempt and could face up to six months in prison. 

Note that this possible jail time isn’t for creating the poster, but for lying to the court in a lawsuit he filed. The Daily Telegraph has more details:

Fairey “went to extreme lengths to obtain an unfair and illegal advantage in his civil litigation, creating fake documents and destroying others in an effort to subvert the civil discovery process,” US Attorney [Preet] Bharara said in a statement…

Says Treacher:  “Fairey’s ego was threatened, and he didn’t think the rules that apply to everybody else should apply to him. So he hit back hard and lied outrageously in the process.”  Sounds like a pretty average day in litigation, only Shepard Fairey’s enemies were high-profile enough for his behavior to get him in big trouble — a condition he brought, quite deservedly, on himself.

(Hat tip to Instapundit.)

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

4 thoughts on “Icon icon: “I conned””
  1. I think calling him a “talentless plagiarist” is going overboard, as he did do some artistic expression of his own using the original photograph as a starting point. Lots of art is actually a “remix” of pre-existing things; very few things are totally original, so the concept of “plagiarism” (legal and moral) is a vague and subjective one. He clearly crossed some ethical and legal lines when he lied and forged documents to try to cover up the original source of the picture, but that doesn’t eliminate all claim to artistic talent on his part.

  2. The irony is, I think his fair use claim is strong–the shenanigans were unnecessary.

    Like Dan T., I don’t quite get the animosity for Fairey. He strikes me as a run of the mill graphic artist who just happened to have a project hit the big time. Sure, he’s not too bright, but as with his work and his politics, his moral carelessness is quite common in his milieu.

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