Hyperallergic has learned that a lawyer representing photographer Donald Graham has sent cease and desist letters to Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery over the unauthorized use of his photograph “Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica.”
A settlement announced yesterday marks the end of the five-year legal saga between photographer Patrick Cariou and appropriation artist Richard Prince, the New York Times reported.
What has really riveted the attention of the art world in the last few seasons is the law.
Contrary to what we thought, the art law blog Clancco has found out that the infamous Cariou v. Prince copyright case is far from over. The organizations involved in this new “friend of the court” brief represent roughly 45,000 members and 100 companies in the fields of photography, the graphic arts, and media.
Wednesday night, a decision by a three-judge appellate court panel marked a turnaround in the closely watched copyright infringement case Cariou v. Prince, pitting photographer Patrick Cariou against art star Richard Prince. Hyperallergic consults intellectual property expert Peter Friedman on the new outcome, with further exclusive commentary from Cariou’s attorney.
The United States District Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed down a 23-page decision today in the case of Patrick Cariou v. Richard Prince, in part reversing and vacating the District Court’s prior judgment in favor of Cariou.
‘Transformative use’ is just mucking things up. That’s what I think. Providing a pivot for the Cariou v Prince case and the only real point of interest no matter what the pundits say, transformative use, instead of the fog-clearing test that it was supposed to be, has become the main particulate in a legal fog of war that has lasted three years now. Thus far, the dueling Cariou v Prince briefs have added new certainty to my theory that transformative use is a singularly unhelpful notion.
I have long suspected that all the press attention garnered by the Cariou v Prince story, with its heady mix of celebrity, power and money has caused the importance of this case to become magnified in the eyes of courtroom outsiders.
Go ahead, expect more of these sweaty headlines with question marks in them. Because, with the now rather infamous Cariou v Prince case up for appeal sometime this year, we are facing another deluge of half-informed, and angrily contentious, punditry which will wash over the raw, dry, factual sands of more professional reports like a tsunami of histrionics.
The New York City Bar Association’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Appropriation: Contemporary Art After Cariou v. Prince” was, as billed, “a frank discussion of fair use and artistic practice.” And it was, indeed, frank, with all six panelists speaking plainly and tough audience questions encouraged. But it was also, clouded and meandering, the way that all intellectual property discussions are.
The recent Cariou v Prince District Court decision has brought to the fore, once and for all, the elephant in the art world and courtroom, Fair Use, which had, until now, managed to avoid close scrutiny in the popular press.
The art world is apparently supposed to line up behind Richard Prince. If you’re radical right now, you view intellectual property (IP) as a vestige of an archaic market strategy. You think of IP enforcement as a form of hoarding. And you think that anyone who objects, just “doesn’t get it.” And any artist who wishes to build a brand or even to get paid for serial prints (mind you, this includes some of the very radicals mentioned above!) — well, they are supposed to line up behind Patrick Cariou. If you’ve got a vested interest in a body of work, you think of appropriation artists as vermin, lazy, energy-sapping parasites. And you think that anyone who objects is an egomaniac with a crazed sense of entitlement. Want to pick a side in the debate? Here are a few things you’ll need to know.