Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tell me again about the public trust (three paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe edition)

Because they are assuredly not held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations, the three paintings, by Georgia O'Keeffe, are being sold by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, to buy … other works by Georgia O'Keeffe?  Fortunately for the Museum, there's no such thing as the public trust or else some people might think this is problematic.

"Gagosian filed a motion to dismiss in the New York State Supreme Court, asserting that Tananbaum is a 'highly sophisticated art collector' who is aware of Koons’s reputation as 'a perfectionist who often takes years' to make his sculptures."

Story here.

This is the one with the ouroboros.

"This really was not a good fraud. They clearly did not think this all the way through."

AP:  "A fine art consultant in New York and an interior designer in Florida stole an elderly woman’s identity and used it to bid millions of dollars on famous paintings and defraud the renowned Sotheby’s auction house, federal prosecutors allege in court filings."

"These memorandums make some good arguments, explaining why fair use favors his uses and why he did not make significant alterations to the Instagram photos. Whether the district court agrees with these arguments is another story."

Krista Cox at Above the Law on the latest developments in the ongoing Richard Prince lawsuit.

"The Legal Implications of Banksy's Destruction of 'Girl with Balloon'"

From Sheppard Mullin.

The bottom line:  "Since the art work was damaged while under the possession of Sotheby’s, under the UCC, it is likely that the anonymous buyer could have canceled the sale."

But related:  No regrets: Buyer keeping Banksy painting that self-destructed.

Friday, October 12, 2018

"In two cases testing copyright law in social media, the artist Richard Prince is asking a federal court in Manhattan to rule that two of his Instagram-based works constitute fair use of photographs taken by others."

Laura Gilbert has the story in The Art Newspaper:

"Last year a US District Court judge rejected Prince’s motion to dismiss Graham’s case. ...  This time around, in summary judgment motions filed on 5 and 9 October, Prince argues that he had to use as much of the photograph as appeared in the Instagram post to accomplish his purpose. In a 15-page statement calling his iPhone a paintbrush, Prince explains that he wanted 'to reimagine traditional portraiture and bring to a canvas and art gallery a physical representation of the virtual world of social media'. Had he altered the photographs, he says, that intent would go unseen."

Law360's Bill Donahue points to "this paragraph [from the motion papers] -- which makes tons of sense in the specific context of a fair use argument but is also, like, brutal shade":

"Not only does Prince’s work have a transformative message, meaning and purpose, but it also has in no way usurped Graham’s market – to the contrary, Graham sold his Photograph for the greatest amount after Prince’s use. This is not a case of forgery, piracy, counterfeit or plagiarism; nor is it copyright infringement. Indeed, the purchaser of the Prince painting knew the included image was not taken by Prince and has unequivocally stated that he would never have purchased the Photograph; rather, he wanted the content, context, commentary, and technique of the Prince work. Indeed, it would make no sense for someone to pay for a Richard Prince if they wanted the Graham Photograph, which they could easily purchase for a fraction of the price of a New Portrait."

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Last Berkshire Museum Appeal Rejected

On standing grounds.  Story here.  Some background here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Preliminary injunction granted in MoMA trademark suit (UPDATED)

Against a tea place called MoMaCha.  Story here.   Background here.

UPDATE:  More from the New York Times.

Monday, October 01, 2018

"Amazon Sued Over Use of Artist’s Work in ‘Suspiria’"

The artist is Ana Mendieta; Suspiria is the new movie by Luca Guadagnino (who directed last year's Call Me By Your Name), a remake of a 1977 Dario Argento horror film.  Variety story here, which includes the following:

"The suit alleges that the 'Suspiria' trailer, which was released in June, contained two images that were derived from Mendieta’s work. One image showed a woman’s hands bound with rope across a white table, which was alleged to be derived from 'Rape Scene.' The second showed a silhouette of a body on a sheet, which the estate claimed was based on 'Silueta Series.'

"The estate sent a cease and desist letter to Amazon in July. In late August, Amazon dropped a second trailer that did not contain the images. The studio screened the film for the estate’s agent in early September, after it premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

"According to the suit, the two images had been removed from the film, but the agent flagged eight others that also bore similarities to Mendieta’s work."

Brian Frye tweets:  "The lawyers for the estate will be so sad when they learn that copyright doesn’t protect style or ideas. Will this even survive a motion to dismiss? I hope not."

But Lee Thomas-Mason posts some side-by-side comparisons and it's not at all obvious to me that these (especially the first two, which it seems have been removed from the film?) fall on the idea side of the idea-expression divide.

I predict a settlement.

Summary Judgment Denied in the G.M. Graffiti Lawsuit

Story (and copy of the decision) here.  As mentioned here, G.M. had argued that there couldn't be infringement because the graffiti was part of an "architectural work" (namely, the parking garage it was painted on).  The court rejected that argument, if anything treating it as a closer call than it actually is.  Eriq Gardner calls it a "big win for graffiti artists."

"I have been introducing the ART Act since 2011 and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan, bicameral version of the legislation this congress"

The American Royalties Too Act is being reintroduced.  I'm not a fan of the Act (for reasons mentioned here), but there is a version of a resale royalty that makes sense to me (for reasons hinted at, but not adequately defended, in the same post).

"Ms. Abramovic was leaving a book signing at the Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, which is hosting Italy’s first major retrospective of her art, when a man slammed a paper portrait he had made of Ms. Abramovic over her head."

NY Times story here.  Abramovic says she was stunned but unhurt and has not pressed charges.

"Ezra Chowaiki was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Manhattan to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for defrauding art dealers and collectors of millions of dollars."

"He was also ordered to give up his interest in more than 20 works of art involved in the fraud, including pieces by Picasso and Alexander Calder."

"We didn’t feel the decision was the correct one. The nature of graffiti in itself is to paint over itself constantly, and [the artists] made reference to that and it’s what happened over the 27 odd years.”

Appeal filed in the 5Pointz VARA case.