Sketch artist sues AP, Getty over copyrights

AP News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2011 5:41 PM
Sketch artist sues AP, Getty over copyrights

A prominent courtroom sketch artist has sued The Associated Press and stock photo agency Getty Images, alleging they violated her copyright protections by reselling her work.

Patricia Lopez of Ohkay Owingeh, N.M., north of Santa Fe, filed the lawsuit back in April in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. On Wednesday her lawyer filed court papers indicating settlement discussions are ongoing.

Lopez has provided sketches at some of the nation's biggest courtroom battles, including the Fort Hood shootings and the Enron and Oklahoma City bombing trials.

Her lawyer, H. Jay Spiegel, said Lopez was typically paid $300 to $500 for her sketches but retained the copyright. AP and Getty allegedly violated the copyright by reselling her work to the public, at prices up to $12,000 for a one-month license, according to the lawsuit.

"She just wants to be compensated when her work is used, and make sure her rights are protected," Spiegel said

It is not clear exactly how much money either AP or Getty may have made by reselling Lopez' sketches. The AP declined comment Thursday; Getty did not respond to phone and email messages.

Spiegel said that AP and Getty would be entitled to continued use of the sketches in any ongoing news coverage of the cases that Lopez has sketched, but that right does not extend to selling those images commercially.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring the companies from offering her sketches for resale.