AP: Zimmerman Used Photograph for Painting Without Permission

Sunday, 26 Jan 2014 11:04 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Associated Press is demanding that George Zimmerman, who has taken up painting as a hobby, refrain from selling his latest painting or face legal action because he directly copied an AP photograph without permission.

Zimmerman, who was acquitted last year of the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, says he has taken up art because it "allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors," reports The Los Angeles Times.

His new art career is also already proving lucrative. Zimmerman in December auctioned off his first painting, an 18-by-24 inch blue American flag with part of the Pledge of Allegiance on it, on EBay, under his account "therealgeorgez," for $100,099.99.

The AP says Zimmerman's latest artwork copies a photograph taken by freelance photographer Rick Wilson of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey while she was announcing that Zimmerman would be charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin. Zimmerman painted her in shades of red and orange, along with a quote that reads "I have this much respect for the American judicial system."

The painting was unveiled this past Wednesday, when Zimmerman's brother, Robert, posted a photo of it on his Twitter account, saying he was "very proud" of his brother's artwork and that it was receiving private offers.

The Associated Press, in a letter to Jayne Weintraub, one of Zimmerman's attorneys, asked that the sale of the painting either be blocked, "and that, if there has been a sale, that the AP be paid damages."

Zimmerman, who uses the Twitter name "TherealGeorgeZ," tweeted a taunt to the Associated Press, saying "No worries AP, I'll just take whatever U sue me for off your tab when I'm done suing you. Or ... I could put out how much U offered me 2."

AP spokesman Paul Colford said his organization does not know what Zimmerman was talking about in the tweet.

The Associated Press has already won a similar lawsuit filed against artist Shepard Fairey, who used one of the news agency's photographs of then-Sen. Barack Obama in his "HOPE" poster during the 2008 presidential campaign. Fairey agreed to pay the AP $1.6 million in 2011.

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