Post Fotog Sues Over Use of Tupac Shot

BROOKLYN (CN) – The Brooklyn Daily Eagle published without permission an iconic photo of Tupac Shakur on a stretcher, flipping off the cameraman, after he was shot in 1994, a New York Post photographer claims in court.
     In his federal lawsuit, Gary Miller, a Post photographer and retired New York City police detective, claims he had “extensive professional experience covering the ‘rap music scene,’ was familiar with Mr. Shakur’s associates and habits, and thus was almost immediately at the scene” when Shakur was the target of an attempted murder in November 1994.
     The Eagle used the photo without permission on June 6, 2012, with an article headlined, “Hip-hop mogul likely faces life in prison after B’klyn jury convicts,” Miller says in the complaint.
     Miller sued Everything Brooklyn Media dba the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
     “Tupac was aware of plaintiff photographing him, and in characteristic display of defiance, made a profane gesture toward the camera while being carried into the ambulance in a stretcher,” Miller says in the lawsuit.
     “That act of defiance has served in the days subsequent thereto and up through today as the defining image of Tupak Shakur in pop culture.”
     Miller claims the photo “achieved an iconic stature and has come to symbolize various aspects of rap culture, including but not limited to the violent conflicts by and between prominent members of the rap world,” Miller says.
     Shakur was shot again in September 1996 in Las Vegas and died.
     Since then, Miller says his photograph has been “well documented in movies, books and biographies about Tupac and or the violent aspects of the rap culture.”
     Miller himself “has been the subject of numerous articles, books and references in the media” because of his photo, he says.
     “Plaintiff vigorously defends his copyright in the subject image,” he says.
     Miller says the Eagle should have obtained a license, authorization or consent to use the image before running it. He says his attorney sent a written demand to remove the image from the newspaper’s website because it violated Miller’s copyright, but the newspaper never responded.
     The newspaper “selected and purposefully used the iconic subject image” “because it believed that such would be a good business decision, which would increase the number of subscriptions, publications sold and number and quality of advertisements attained,” Miller says.
     He seeks damages for copyright infringement.
     He is represented by Edward Greenberg.

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