A dispute between artist Shepard Fairey and The Associated Press was settled last year — but Fairey’s legal woes were just beginning. The man behind an iconic poster of Barack Obama has been sentenced to two years of probation and fined $25,000, the New York Times reports.
The case began in 2009, when the AP claimed that Fairey infringed on one of its copyrighted photographs to create his poster. In return, Fairey sued the news organization, saying he had used another photograph under fair use. But as the suit progressed, Fairey admitted that he had been mistaken — and that he tried to conceal his error by both destroying documents and fabricating evidence. He pleaded guilty to a criminal contempt charge in February 2012.
“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,” Fairey said in a statement after his sentencing.