Ex-White House Photographer Anna Wilding Accuses Barack Obama's Publisher of Infringement Over His Memoir Book Cover Photo

4 weeks ago 20

New Zealand-born photographer Anna Wilding is seeking at least $50,000 compensation against Former President Barack Obama's publishers Penguin Random House as she claims the image used for the cover of "A Promised Land" was a rip-off of her previous work.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Wilding said that copyright of a photograph "is a complex issue and infringement includes derivative works."

Obama's memoir will be released in November and it shows the black and white photo of the former president smiling. Wilding said her previous photos of Obama are "considered iconic and unique" as she claims that no one else has taken a black and white photo of the former president using a certain angle.

Barack Obama’s A Promised Land memoir

(Photo : Barack Obama Book)
Barack Obama’s A Promised Land memoir

Wilding worked as a photographer and correspondent in the White House from 2015 to 2017 and her Obama works were critically acclaimed.  In 2019, she published Celebrate Hope, a coffee table book showcasing her Obama photos exhibited in California.

'It's an infringement on my rights, my work, my style - my black and white style," said the Wilding adding that the photographer may have opted to do a forward-facing photo instead. She even alleged that the book cover was "stolen, copied, manipulated, reproduced without permission" in a post on her LinkedIn page.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, her exhibitions were canceled, which led Wilding financially struggling. "I need to be paid for my work and any infringements," she told DailyMail.com.

Screening of

(Photo : Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 19: Director Anna Wilding attends the screening of "Buddha Wild: Monk in a Hut" at theTibet House on March 19, 2008 in New York City.

She was also upset that her unique and original works are ripped off. "This is my iconic and published work from my well-known exhibit," added Wilding who said she has a legitimate claim over the image. 

However, Penguin Random House denied Wilding's accusations as the photo used in the book cover was taken by Pari Dukovic.

"We are confident our cover photograph does not infringe any copyrights," the publisher's executive publicist Carisa Hays told DailyMail.com.

However, Wilding hopes Penguin will see the merit of her case and arrange a settlement before she files it to court. "I believe there is clear copyright infringement and I am working with a specialist lawyer on that goal," said Wilding.

Obama's A Promised Land memoir

Former President Barack Obama's publisher Penguin Random House announced on September 17 that his new memoir will be published worldwide on November 17 in 25 languages such as Chinese, Spanish, Czech, Vietnamese, Finnish, and Arabic.

The book, entitled "A Promised Land," will be the first of two volumes. The 768-page first book includes his early political life, the 2008 presidential campaign, until the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Penguin Random House's subsidiary, Crown Publishing will handle the book's publication. The memoir is an intimate story of a man who gambled with history and on the world stage.

The former president and his wife Michelle sold the rights to their memoirs to Crown for a record-breaking $65 million package deal. In 2018, Michelle's book, entitled "Becoming," was published and sold more than 8.1 million units across the U.S. and Canada.

Meanwhile, the ex-U.S. president took a little longer to finish his book, although he began writing shortly after leaving the White House.

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Written by CJ Robles

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