The 50 Most Political Art Pieces of the Past 15 Years

8. Legal Battle With Associated Press by Shepard Fairey, 2009-2012

We want to believe the legal battle Fairey undertook with the Associated Press in the years following the use of their photo for his Obama portrait was meant as a work unto itself. The AP claimed that Fairey had taken a photograph licensed by the news agency and unduly misappropriated it. Fairey’s defense became more convoluted as time went on, at first saying he hadn’t stolen the photo, then eventually claiming his use of the photo fell under fair use. Was this all a political statement? Why else would Fairey perjure himself, tamper with evidence, submit false documents, and then ultimately plead guilty to infringement, if not to raise questions about copyright issues? Fairey was eventually sentenced to probation and a $25,000 fine.

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