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The artist who created the Obama “Hope” poster was sentenced to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service on Sept. 3, according to the Associated Press.

Shepard Fairey, 42, used a photo taken by Associated Press and added the well-known blue and red shades that came to symbolize hope and change for Obama’s 2008 election.

Gary Pruitt, the president and CEO of AP praised the ruling and what it signified for journalists. “We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content,” he said in the article.

Prosecutors for the case argued that Fairey had both an “ideological and financial” motive for lifting the photo . They continued that revenues at three companies of which he was in charge increased from roughly $3 million in 2007 to $6 million in 2009.

Fairey contested that he used most of the money in which he made for donations to the Obama campaign and other organizations.

Fairey’s defense attorneys cited the situation as the worst mistake of his life and further painted their client as a family man who employs scores of people within his companies. They continued that Fairey has suffered considerable damage to his reputation.

The artist has been required to pay the Associated Press $1.6 million, and an insurance company is scheduled to pay about $450,000 of that amount, according to the AP.

In a statement released on his website, Fairey said “making money was never part of the equation.”

The sentencing brings on much debate about artists using real-world references as inspiration, as Fairey saw it, and the limits of fair use under copyright law.

By Raven Maragh. 

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