Saturday, July 22, 2017

Speaking of appropriation

Donald Graham's daughter had this to say about Richard Prince's use of her father's work:

"That Richard Prince stole his work for his crass commercial purposes is not only against the law, it is an affront, an ugly reminder that successful artists such as Richard Prince believe themselves beyond the law. They can steal now and pay later from their profits."

Actually, that wasn't Graham's daughter at all; it's Lygia Pape's daughter, who just brought an infringement lawsuit against LG Electronics. (I changed a few words.)

The challenge for those seeking to make sense of this area of the law is to distinguish the two cases.  Why are some kinds of appropriation okay and others not?  What is the theory?