The Associated Press is always ready to slap a brand on a photograph and sell it to the media. Too ready, according to courtroom artist Pat Lopez, who has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against both the AP and Getty Images, claiming that the two image banks have been selling her copyrighted drawings without permission. A much-called-upon courtroom artist, Lopez has covered everything from the 1979 Karen Silkwood trial and Whitewater in 1993 to the 2003 Kobe Bryant rape case and the Abu Ghraib courts martial in 2005.
In her lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., Lopez (who lives in New Mexico) notes that AP and Getty have been “offering for sale or license hundreds of her drawings, charging as much as $12,000 for a one-month license for a single drawing in some cases.” Lopez works as an independent contractor, and has even registered her drawings with the federal copyright office. Lopez seeks an accounting of the two firms' profits and damages, as well as copyright fees. At this writing, both Getty and the AP seem to have removed any images of Lopez drawings from their websites. Image: Pat Lopez drawing of Kobe Bryant, reproduced in Life with a Getty stamp in 2004.