New Jersey photographer Jennifer Graylock has sued the Associated Press in New York state court for releasing her photographs.  She alleges that the AP violated her contract and did not provide her with proper compensation.  The lawsuit seeks damages in an undetermined amount.

According to her contract with the AP, Graylock was to be paid half of all fees received, less sales commissions, for the use of her photographs on an image-by-image basis.  In the past, Graylock’s photographs have garnered license fees ranging anywhere from $35.00 to $1900.00.  

The images at the center of this dispute focus on Leona Helmsley and her dog, Trouble.  Trouble made headlines after Helmsley passed. The dog was named sole heir to Helmsley’s multi-million dollar estate.  Graylock alleges that her photographs were the only ones taken of the Hotel-princess and her pooch.  The images had never been published before the AP’s release.  According to the Complaint, “Only a few days after Helmsley’s death, a Google search by plaintiff disclosed 62,000 usages of the Trouble Images online.  Even halving the Google hits to account for duplicative entries… plaintiff would be due in the neighborhood of $500,000 on these internet uses alone.”  

The dispute does not end with Trouble.  The AP allegedly published images of many celebrities without Graylock’s permission, including photographs of Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, and Madonna, to name a few.  In addition, the AP allegedly released images on its wire without properly compensating Graylock for the use of photographs of Mariah Carey, Brooke Astor, Britney Spears, Eminem, and the Olsen twins, among others. 

The AP declined to comment on the lawsuit.  

The case is Graylock v. The Associated Press, index number 652625,  New York Supreme Court, New York County