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Shepard Fairey to Be Sentenced for His Actions in Obama “Hope” Poster Case
The week of February 29, 2012, it was announced that one of the skateboarding's most recognizable figures is due in court July 16, 2012, to be sentenced on charges that could land him behind bars. Here's more:
About the Announcement
The person at the center of the story is skater and artist Shepard Fairey. Long time skate fans know that Fairey is no stranger to being in the spotlight. The 42 year old has been under an intense one since 2008 when his now notorious Obama "Hope" poster first surfaced. The poster initially brought Fairey fame, and later infamy, when it was revealed that he had used an Associated Press (AP) photo of Obama without permission in its creation. Fairey and the AP tangled over the matter in civil court and eventually settled. The criminal contempt charges Fairey pleaded guilty to earlier this year arose due to his alleged actions during his legal wrangling with the news giant. He faces jail time and a stiff financial penalty for his actions.
Previous Issues and Accusations
The AP lawsuit and current criminal proceedings are not the only issues related to the Obama "Hope" poster. In November 2011 Fairey created a similar piece of artwork that was dubbed the "Occupy Wall Street" poster. Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement were allegedly displeased with Fairey's work and asked him to stop using it. Unfortunately for Fairey, those two posters are not the only pieces of artwork that have garnered him criticism over the years. He has been previously accused of plagiarizing the work of Koloman Moser, Ralph Chaplin, Rene Mederos and several others as well.
Fairey is not the only skateboarder to face such allegations. Shaun White was indirectly accused of plagiarism in December 2011 by artist Michael Sieben. Sieben made written allegations that a line of clothing bearing White's name was making unauthorized use of his artwork. After an initial flurry of internet chatter over Sieben's allegations, the topic seemed to slip out of sight. Skateboarders are not the only ones that have had to deal with such difficulties. Skateboard companies have also had their fair share of copyright issues. Case in point, on February 28, 2012, Volcom was accused of copying the logo of a company by the name of Sightglass. How far those allegations will go remains to be seen.
Killeen Gonzalez has a history of following the sport and interviewing pro skaters.
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