Last month, Zimmerman earned a winning bid of just over $100,000 on eBay for one of his paintings.
The Associated Press, however, says that Zimmerman’s latest painting is a direct copy of one of the news agency’s photos and is demanding that any sale of the artwork be halted.
From the Associated Press:
The Associated Press has demanded that George Zimmerman halt the sale of one of his paintings because the news agency says it directly copies an AP photo.
Zimmerman’s painting depicts Jacksonville-based prosecutor Angela Corey holding her thumb and fingers together. An apparently made-up quote Zimmerman added to the piece reads, “I have this much respect for the American judicial system.” Corey’s office prosecuted Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder last summer.
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., posted an image of the painting Wednesday on Twitter and tweeted a day later that they were in negotiations with possible buyers.
The news agency said in its letter that Zimmerman’s painting is a direct copy of an AP photo taken at the April 2012 news conference where Corey announced Zimmerman would be charged with murder. It was taken for the AP by freelancer Rick Wilson. The news cooperative asked that any sale be blocked — and that, if there has been a sale, that the AP be paid damages.
“George Zimmerman clearly directly copied an AP photo to create his painting of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said in a written statement.
The letter was sent to Jayne Weintraub, one of the attorneys who has previously represented George Zimmerman. While Weintraub says she no longer represents Zimmerman, she indicated that she would forward the letter to him, according to the AP.
Rick Wilson, the photographer who took the photo for the AP, explained that he was uncomfortable with the photo being used in the painting for profit. He has also retained an attorney.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Wilson said he first learned that Zimmerman had used his photo when a Boston-based photographer called and alerted him. Soon, “I started getting emails… other phone calls, people were texting me the link to news stories,” he said.
Wilson took the photograph as a freelancer for the Associated Press, and said the AP owns its copyright.
He said he’d feel differently if Zimmerman was painting it for purely personal or therapeutic reasons — but not for profit.
“That to me crosses a line… the fact that he’s trying to profit and pass off, basically, a photograph as his own original artwork and all he did was basically manipulate it,” Wilson told the Sentinel.
Artist Shepard Fairey found himself in hot water with the AP after he was accused of using one of the news agency’s photos to create the well-known “HOPE” poster depicting Barack Obama. After a legal dispute, the two sides settled in 2011. Fairey was also later sentenced to probation for criminal contempt in connection with that legal matter.
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