November 29, 1781 – The crew of the British slave ship Zong murders 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea to claim insurance. J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) Slavers throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhoon coming on ("The Slave Ship") Date: 1840. Medium: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 35.7 × 48.3 in. Current location: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF. Works published before 1923, in this case 1840, are now in the public domain.
This image is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from the last day of that year.
The Zong was owned by a Liverpool slave-trading syndicate that had taken out insurance on the lives of the slaves. When the ship ran low on water following navigational mistakes, the crew threw some of the slaves into the sea to drown. The owners of the Zong made a claim to their insurers for the loss of the slaves. When the insurers refused to pay, the resulting court cases held that in some circumstances the deliberate killing of slaves was legal, and that insurers could be required to pay for the slaves' deaths.