crimesider

Zimmerman could face lawsuit over painting based on photo

An image of George Zimmerman's painting of Fla. State Attorney Angela Corey, overlaid on a photograph of Corey by Associated Press photographer Rick Wilson Rick Wilson/AP

George Zimmerman may face a lawsuit over a painting he created that is drawn from a photograph by Associated Press photographer Rick Wilson – but judging by his response on Twitter, the former neighborhood watch volunteer doesn’t seem too concerned.

Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin last year, is selling a painting that depicts Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, accompanied by the text: “I have this much respect for the American judicial system. – Angie C.”

 

Angela Corey[1].jpg
Rick Wilson's original photograph of Angela Corey
Rick Wilson/AP
 Angela Corey prosecuted Zimmerman, who shot and killed the unarmed teen on Feb. 26, 2012.

According to Wilson’s attorney, John Phillips, the AP sent a cease and desist letter to Zimmerman on Thursday, the day after his brother posted an image of the painting on Twitter. Phillips told CBS News’ Crimesider that his client is sending a second, separate cease and desist letter today.

“Rick does have royalty rights and other rights to that photo,” says Phillips. “If Mr. Zimmerman decides he is not accountable, he will be reckoned with.”

On Friday afternoon, Zimmerman, tweeting under the handle @therealGeorgeZ sent a tweet that read:  “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..”

In 2011, artist Shepard Fairey settled a lawsuit with the AP over his use of a photo of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to create a series of “Hope” posters. In 2012, Fairey was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine in a criminal contempt case involving his use of the photo.

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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