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George Zimmerman has embarked on a new venture. Since being acquitted of second-degree murder in the much-publicized Trayvon Martin case last year, he has taken to painting.
His first painting, of a waving blue American flag with “God, One Nation, With Liberty And Justice For All” stamped across it, sold on eBay last month for over $100,000.
Zimmerman’s artwork is in the headlines again, but not because of its hefty price tag. His latest piece, a painting of Angela Corey, the Florida State Attorney who prosecuted Zimmerman’s case, with a quote beneath her face that reads: “I have this much respect for the American judicial system.” The Associated Press claims that Zimmerman unlawfully used its photo to create the painting, and it has sent Zimmerman a cease-and-desist letter asserting its copyright. Rick Wilson, the photographer of the now-famous image, has also retained counsel and is apparently ready to file suit as well.
Zimmerman’s brother claims that potential buyers have demonstrated interest in purchasing the piece and that the Zimmermans are exploring other ways to market the image. For his part, Zimmerman responded via his Twitter account: “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.”
What is your reaction to this developing story? Do you think Zimmerman has infringed on the Associated Press’ and Wilson’s rights? If this goes to trial, will Zimmerman be able to satisfy the requisite prongs of the fair use defense?
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