Associated Press Suing George Zimmerman Over Painting
George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, continues to make news, but this time it’s about artwork he created.
The Associated Press (AP) is suing George Zimmerman for copying a photograph taken by AP freelancer Rick Wilson and using it in a painting of prosecutor Angela Corey. Arguments on both sides can be found in internet forums. It’s obvious that the artwork is derived from the photograph. The pose, the wrinkles, the placement of the hand all demonstrate that the original image was used to create the painting. The waters get muddy since changes were made that might reclassify it as original or satirical artwork.
In a similar case involving a photograph of President Obama, the AP sued artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic HOPE poster. The AP claimed that the artist had violated copyright laws. The case was settled, and Fairey agreed to pay the AP $1.6 million.
It will be interesting to follow this case and see how it plays out. What do you think? Should an artist be able to profit from using another’s work without compensating or crediting the original author or creator? And, can an artist alter the original piece enough that it no longer is considered derivative, but an entirely new creation?