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Shepard Fairey admits to wrongdoing in Associated Press lawsuit

October 16, 2009 |  7:29 pm


In a strange twist to an already complicated legal situation, artist Shepard Fairey admitted today to legal wrongdoing in his ongoing battle with the Associated Press.

Fairey said in a statement issued late Friday that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings, in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his "Hope" poster of then-Sen. Barack Obama.

"Throughout the case, there has been a question as to which Mannie Garcia photo I used as a reference to design the HOPE image," Fairey said. "The AP claimed it was one photo, and I claimed it was another."

New filings to the court, he said, "state for the record that the AP is correct about which photo I used...and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong. In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images." 

In February, the AP claimed that Fairey violated copyright laws when he used one of their images as the basis for the poster.  In response, the artist filed a lawsuit against the AP, claiming that he was protected under fair use. Fairey also claimed that he used a different photo as the inspiration for his poster.

After Fairey's admission, a spokesman for the Associated Press issued a statement saying that Fairey "sued the AP under false pretenses by lying about which AP photograph he used."

Fairey said that his lawyers have taken the steps to amend his court pleadings to reflect the fact that "the AP is correct about which photo I used as a reference and that I was mistaken."

The artist expressed his remorse in his statement, saying that he is taking "full responsibility for my actions which were mine alone. I am taking every step to correct the information and I regret I did not come  forward sooner. "

He added: "I am very sorry to have hurt and disappointed colleagues, friends, and family who have supported me in this difficult case and trying time in my life."

Fairey's statement said he regretted that his actions would distract from the issue of fair use for artists. "Regardless of which of the two images was used, the fair use issue should be the same," he said.

Keep checking back with Culture Monster as this story develops.

-- David Ng

Photo: Shepard Fairey. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (162)

What? Another example of a Nobama supporter lying?!
No way. Isn't every person around the biggest liar all about truth?
Lies & Deception surround everything about our so-called President who wants transparency.

Now, how can we blame this on George Bush?

What's the big deal? There are millions of photos of this narcissist out there; all with that same 'I'm looking at the teleprompter in the sky' look.

How is that hope and change working out for you Californians? At least you have these great images of Obama to console you. Booyah!
We in S. Carolina are in your economic shape, but at least we are not running huge state deficits that will never be closed. We are also under no illusion that Democrats at any level of government can bring us back from the brink. Print more money. That is how wealth is created.
$1.4 trillion federal deficit last year. Oh, yeah!!

Fairey's art has always been unoriginal and uninspiring and appeals only tto sheep following "hipsters." Glad he's finally been exposed for the loser he is.

Barak Obama had nothing to do with this poster, besides being pictured in it. Shepard's mistake is his alone, and is not a reflection of the need for reform, socialism, or any of the other things that partisan people claim.

Fairey's need to lie, however, does show the underlying 'rot' that success causes in our culture. Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme grew out of his need to succeed, for example. Election cheats, political dirt, etc., all stem from a need to fit our self-created reflection, and illusions of good and evil.

Regarding the issue of fair use: Barak Obama owns his face, not Associated Press. If we are going to give 'rights' to the AP for clicking a picture, ten by the same twisted logic, the person who projected the image can equally claim ownership and all proceeds that arise.

There is even a greater issue here, however, which is that how can democracy function under an umbrella of free speech if all speech is commercialized? The fact that this suit is with a news-providing organization is all the more Orwellian. They have become the news, and are on the wrong side of the free speech issue. Hypocrisy and doublethink has reached epidemic proportions in America, which is clearly obvious in the two legal combatants as well as the comments of other posters.

For the record, I created a poster for the inauguration with a picture of Orwell with big red lips, stating that 'Lipstick on Orwell is still Orwell.' I have no idea where the original Orwell image came from. I think the lips were Andy Warhol's. Evidently I am guilty of more than thoughtcrime, but also copycrime, too. :-)

(I like Obama, but I am not uncritical, either).

Hey, it's about Obama. What else would you expect? There is absolutley nothing that isn't eventually revealed as corrupt, with regard to that subject. Let's do the Van Jones green jobs thing: plant an ACORN, S.lowly E.xecrete I.n U.nison, and moveon.org to a Marxist-Lenininst workers paradise of perpetual unemployement.

Fairey is hardly an "artist". He's just another con-man who ripped off Andy Worhal to exploit a trendy Black Pop Idol (Obama).

Obama was the Cabbage Patch Kid of 2008.

Sweet. Now if we could just get the dolts who voted for the Post Turtle to admit they were wrong too we might have a chance to save this country.

bush and iraq and cheney and the world and all the politicians and our current situation of our country and tehy all get to walk free and you want to put him in jail for art? are you all nuts..............go get a life or at least start locally by voting out every incumbant. he is an artist not a politician. give it a rest.

Hope?, nope, dope.

This guy is a kook. He ripped off an image of Andre the Giant and became famous by slapping the sticker of it all over the urban scene. Wow, creative.. He has done nothing but rip off real artists and collect their fame and fortune. Let's see him create something besides legal troubles that no doubt taxpayers will suffer from.. KOOK!

A few things some of you need to understand.
First, more people voted for Obama than McCain.
Second, when it comes to lying, republicans and conservatives have done their fair share of it starting at the top with Bush and all his lies about the reasons to go to war in Iraq.
Third, Obama is not a socialist, and your biggest celebrity (Rush) called him a fascist, so both can't be true. Get an education, they mean the opposite.
Fourth, lying about which photo you used to draw a picture pales in comparison to lying about a war, lying about revealing state secrets etc.
Fifth, Bush will always be the worst president in history. Sorry, but its true.

this is why they call it graphic design and NOT fine art. also, what street cred do you have when you sell your ugly t-shirts at nordstroms. sorry, i like real art by real artists, not some graphic designer who thinks he is one and steals other peoples work and lies about it.

In this new era of "all for one and one for all," this revelation of Fairey's values is perfection! Why just in the last 6 months, somebody "re-distributed" my money to AIG, Goldman Sachs, and General Motors...I'm paying on mortgages on several homes that don't belong to me, and will also soon be paying for other people's colonoscopies. It's all for the common good, isn't it, and how could that possibly be bad, ay Shep? Hope and change for everyone!

Property rights be damned, it's the new Wild West! Take it and then lie about it...It's yours if you think you can hold onto it, cowboy.Didn't Shep grow up as part of the congregation of the Reverends Geithner and Bernanke? Hallelujah, well done Brother Fairey!

I used someone else's photograph in one of my earlier art pieces and it was of a nobody, and THAT made me feel guilty. But to take someone famous and steal a photograph and then act like you made it up is wrong, that's why he eventually admitted it. He knows how to use someone else's computer software, and use someone else's photograph to make an image. Art? Ehhh not so much. That is how a lot of art, music, and film is created in our modern times. Unoriginal and copied. Thanks puffy combs and Sheperd pairey for your thievery. : )

"Artist of Obama poster admits mistake" is the front page lead.
A litle forgiving for somebody who has willfully stolen and covered up over a period of time. If this was a picture of anybody but Obama and not an obvious supporter of his how would the title read? "Partisan artist finally admits fraud"?

Another liberal caught in a lie, why do I not find this surprising? How come the Main Stream Media does not say anything about this? Oh wait a minute, that's all the Main Stream Media is full of. Liberals. They are just extending professional courtesy by keeping this quiet.

He did something that any politician or anyone in Corporate America would never do...admit responsibility.

I am curious here how folks that are indignant about the "lies" of this artist and the connection they have made to president and the liberal liars explain the entirety of the last presidency? War? Economic collapse? Just trying to make sense out of this.

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