Thursday, January 08, 2009

Prince Suit (UPDATED)

Cityfile reports that photographer Patrick Cariou has filed a lawsuit against artist Richard Prince, Larry Gagosian, Gagosian Gallery, and Rizzoli books "for using a number of his photographs in Prince's 'Canal Zone' exhibition without his consent, pics that Cariou alleges first appeared in his 2000 book, Yes Rasta."

You can read a copy of the complaint at the link. Here is some information regarding the exhibition. Here is Cariou's website. Here is Yes Rasta on Here is an earlier post on Prince.

Greg Allen has some thoughts here. He thinks Prince "almost certainly" will win: "Prince's process means his paintings will almost certainly be declared transformative, not derivative works, and as such, they're fair use, not infringing." I wouldn't be so sure: litigation is always uncertain, and never more so than when it comes to appropriation art. As Judge Leval has said, the law in this area is "astonishingly unpredictable."

UPDATE: Jim Johnson agrees with Allen: "Regardless of what one might make of Prince's work, this seems like a very, very clear no-win case for Cariou."