Court Dismisses Artist’s $100 Million Antitrust Suit Against Prominent Museums
01/21/2019One artist’s crusade against what he perceives to be anticompetitive behavior in the New York art world has come to an end—at least for now—as a federal judge dismissed his antitrust claims against five museums.
Indonesian Theme Park Filled With Art Knockoffs Illustrates Challenges In Defending Copyrights Across Borders
05/08/2018The oddly audacious copying of artwork at Rabbit Town illustrates a simple fact about artists who want to defend their intellectual property rights; that mission gets more complicated when an issue crosses international borders, because there is no universal international copyright law that protects an artwork all over the world.
Federal Court Rules That Met Can Keep Picasso Sold As Owners Fled Pre-World War II Europe
02/09/2018In a lengthy opinion issued earlier this week, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the Metropolitan Museum of Art may keep a noteworthy Picasso artwork, even though its German-Jewish former owners sold it for a fraction of its actual value to finance their safe passage out of fascist Italy.
Recent News Stories Spark Conversations, Debates Over the Role of Museums
01/16/2018Current events are sparking a larger conversation about the role of museums and their responsibilities to the communities in which they reside and to the public at large.
Ownership Dispute Reveals Continuing Effects of Madoff Scandal on Art World
10/17/2017A lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal district court last week reveals how Bernard Madoff’s nearly decade-old Ponzi scheme continues to reverberate, even in the art world.
Photographer’s Infringement Claims Against Richard Prince Clear Motion-to-Dismiss Hurdle; Two “New Portraits” Lawsuits Will Move On To Discovery
10/09/2017Famed artist Richard Prince is no stranger to litigation; over the years, he’s been sued by multiple plaintiffs whose art he has incorporated into his own “appropriation art” works. A few years ago, he was the defendant in the Cariou v. Prince case, which resulted in an important Second Circuit Opinion about the fair-use defense to copyright infringement.
Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case Involving Seizure of Iranian Artifacts on Loan to U.S. Museums
07/07/2017The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, a case out of the Seventh Circuit regarding the ability to execute on a judgment by seizing Iranian artifacts held in American museums. The case will likely resolve a circuit split over whether victims of state-sponsored terrorism can collect on judgments by targeting assets of the foreign state held in the United States, even if those assets are otherwise protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).
Recently Enacted Federal Law Hopes to Facilitate Art Lending from Abroad
01/26/2017Under a recently enacted federal law, foreign states have been granted sovereign immunity in controversies over the temporary exhibition of artworks and cultural objects on loan to the United States, The Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, signed at the end of last year by President Obama, grants immunity from federal or state-court jurisdiction to foreign governments, where an artwork or cultural object from that country has been imported for a temporary display at a U.S. cultural or educational institution.
Prince’s Disavowal of Ivanka Trump Work Raises Questions About An Artist’s Role In Defining His Oeuvre
01/17/2017Richard Prince is no stranger to controversy; indeed, it’s arguably an essential element of his art. We’ve written in recent years about several copyright infringement cases against Prince involving his practice of “appropriation” of others’ artworks as part of his own.
Another Richard Prince Lawsuit
12/05/2016Richard Prince has had a busy year on the litigation front. We’ve previously written about the copyright claims photographer Donald Graham filed last winter against Prince and the Gagosian Gallery over Prince’s use of Instagram images in his 2014-15 “New Portraits” exhibition. A motion to dismiss that case on fair use grounds is currently pending.
McDonald's Sued For Copying Graffiti Art
10/10/2016When international fast-food chain McDonald’s launched a campaign featuring images of graffiti art decorating some of its restaurants, the restaurant opened itself up to litigation asserting, among other things, copyright and trademark claims by artists who say their work has been copied without permission. As graffiti art has become increasingly artistically and commercially valuable in recent years, courts and litigants have had to examine how copyright law applies to this unique art form.
Elliot Stevens Gallery and Customer Head To Court Over Allegedly Fake Sculptures
09/23/2016A disgruntled client’s claims against the Elliot Stevens Gallery and its executive are headed to trial this fall in a dispute involving the client’s purchase of a group of sculptures.
Recently Settled Lawsuit Involving $100 Million Picasso Sculpture Highlights Many of the Pitfalls of Art Sales
07/11/2016A recent settlement involving several major art-world players raises some important points about contracting in art transactions.
Jeff Koons Reaches Settlement In Recent Lawsuit, But Richard Prince Is In the Hot Seat Again On Fair Use
05/19/2016Appropriation art is back in the news, as two of the biggest names in the field navigate the latest legal claims filed against them.
A few months ago, we wrote about a new lawsuit filed against Jeff Koons over his appropriation of a photograph from a 1980s liquor advertisement. The defendants in the case (Koons and auction house Phillips) filed answers to the complaint, but in mid-April, the parties informed the court that they had reached a settlement, and the case is now closed. But shortly after the Koons complaint was filed, another giant of appropriation art, Richard Prince, was haled into court for his latest dance on the line between fair use and copyright infringement.
Jeff Koons Sued For Copyright Infringement, Again
01/10/2016Famed “appropriation artist” Jeff Koons was sued in federal court last month over his alleged copyright infringement of a photograph used in a 1986 liquor advertisement. Koons is no stranger to litigation, having been sued on several different occasions for his appropriation art. The results of those suits have been mixed. For example, one of his works, “String of Puppies,” in which he created a sculpture based on a photograph without permission from the photographer, became the subject of an important court decision when the Second Circuit rejected Koons’s argument that his copying of the photograph was protected by the fair-use doctrine.
Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Collectors’ Claims Against Keith Haring Foundation
12/10/2015This blog has previously covered the case of Bilinski v. Keith Haring Foundation, Inc., a federal lawsuit filed last year in the Southern District of New York. Collectors of artworks they believe to be by famed artist Keith Haring, sued the artist’s foundation claiming that it had improperly denied authentication, thereby damaging the value of their holdings. This past spring, a federal judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims in a decision that explored some of the complex legal issues posed by artist foundations and authentication boards. The Second Circuit has now affirmed that ruling.
Richard Prince’s Instagram Exhibit Raises Eyebrows and Fair Use Questions
06/12/2015Famed “appropriation artist” Richard Prince has spent much of his career testing the boundaries of fair use. He was the defendant in the high-profile case of Cariou v. Prince, which revolved around a 2008 exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery called “Canal Zone,” in which Prince extensively appropriated works from Yes Rasta, a book of works by photographer Patrick Cariou. Cariou’s ensuing copyright-infringement lawsuit culminated in a 2013 Second Circuit opinion, which held that the majority of Prince’s works constituted fair use of Cariou’s photographs under federal copyright law.
Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Invasion-of-Privacy Claims Against Photographer Arne Svenson
04/15/2015Last week, a New York appellate court upheld the dismissal of invasion-of-privacy tort claims against photographer Arne Svenson for his 2012 photography series, “The Neighbors.” The decision marks an important development concerning the intersection of art and privacy laws.
Decision In Dali Forgery Case Favorable For Art Buyers
02/25/2015A recent unpublished opinion from a Michigan state appellate court touches on recurring and important themes in recent art-law cases: the degree to which buyers may rely on a dealer’s representations about a work of art, and the degree of pre-sale diligence required by buyers. See King v. Park West Galleries, Inc., No. 314188 (Mich. Ct. of App., Dec. 2, 2014).
As Two Schieles Sell at November Auctions, Debate Continues Over Holocaust-Era Restitution Issues
12/02/2014During the first week of November, two works by Egon Schiele sold at auction—one at Christie’s and one at Sotheby’s. This blog post examines the troubled stories behind these works, the way the two sales unfolded, and what they can teach us about the current state of art restitution efforts.
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