Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Okwui Enwezor: Art World A Bunch of Hypocrites

Okwui Enwezor, former poet and dean of the San Francisco Art Institute, calls out the hypocrisy and lameness of art world protests and petitions. But what, exactly, is he doing that’s so different and effective?


Mom Defends Copyright, Triumphs Over Urban Outfitters

Good news regarding the disturbing allegations of Urban Outfitters infringing a designer’s copyright. According to NBC Chicago, Urban Outfitters has been shamed into removing jewelry from its website and line.

According to Tumblr’s fashion director Richard Tong, Urban Outfitters began the process of reaching out to [designer, Stevie] Koerner on Thursday to remove the jewelry line from its site and it was gone by Friday morning.

Of interest of course is whether or not one can copyright pendants in the shape of the fifty US states. They do have a heart-shaped puncture through them, indicating the capital of the state, so this may help. Regardless, this incident serves as a gentle reminder to the free-culture party that theft of copyrighted works — for commercial or non-commercial reasons — cuts both ways. Kudos to Koerner!

What do you think?

Thanks to our good friend and former student, Amanda Sitzer, for sending this story along.


Increase In Graffiti Art Sales, and Prosecutions

According to the WSJ, as the domestication and commercialization of graffiti increases so does its criminalization.

Law-enforcement officials around the country are prosecuting graffiti artists with harsher sentences than ever, pushing for felony charges, real prison time and restitution payments as they seek to wipe graffiti from the streets. At the same time, the art world and corporations are embracing the form like never before.


In Retaliation, Russia Bans Loans to US Museums

Russia has banned loans to U.S. museums in retaliation for a U.S. district court ruling mandating that Russia return a trove of religious books and manuscripts to the Jewish group Chabad. According to the Los Angeles Times, “[t]he Russian cultural ban already has aborted one U.S. museum exhibition, forced the indefinite postponement of another, and could prevent LACMA from showing 38 artworks in a major exhibition on Islamic art set to open June 5.” The ban has also affected other major cultural institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum and The J. Paul Getty Museum.


Navy SEALs Battle Disney for Trademark

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eddie Harrison/Released

Oddly enough, in last Monday’s Art & Law Residency seminar we were  discussing Disney’s application to the USPTO to register “SEAL Team 6″ as a federal trademark and whether or not the US Navy would have any issue with that or whether the US Navy should own the trademark outright.

Sure enough, that’s just what has happened.

Fox News reports today that on May 13, the US Navy has filed “two applications of its own. The Navy’s competing applications sought trademark status for ‘SEAL Team’ posters and clothing, as well as ‘Navy SEAL’ goods and services, identifying the Navy squad as an organization that ‘develops and executes military missions involving special operations strategy, doctrine and tactics.’”

So who would win? Well, the SEALs of course. But who would win the trademark battle? It’s hard to say. It could be Disney if we base the issue on who filed first. It could be the US Navy if the issue is framed around who was actually providing services and products first. They could also enter into an agreement where each stays within their respective categories: military interventions and the other into entertainment.

Hard to say, but we believe they’ll settle this amicably, or at least Disney will. They stand to lose too much.

UPDATE: May 26, 2011

We were right. Disney has withdrawn its “SEAL Team 6″ trademark applications.


Hot Topics from the 2011 Legal Issues In Museums Conference

The annual legal problems in museum administration conference was held last month. A few “hot” topics hit the agenda. Not surprisingly, copyright and fair use was in the mix. Other topics were federal resale rights, moral rights, and broken donor pledges. On the current “hot” topic concerning the academic and institutional use of copyrighted images, Theodore Feder, president of New York’s Artists Rights Society, had this to say.

[T]he society accepts “the use of thumbnails before, during and after an exhibition.” Under US “fair use” rules, which allows for the reproduction of copyrighted works in certain educational and other circumstances, “we accept as fair use a scholarly publication of under 3,000 copies [but] not a coffee table book,” plus reproductions used in research and news reporting[.]

The conference was organized by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association and sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the American Association of Museums. More via The Art Newspaper here.


Arts Nonprofits: How to Read the New Form 990

Now available, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York’s new version of How to Read the IRS Form 990, based on the newly redesigned and expanded Form 990 that was first required for 2008  IRS filings. The online resource is broken down by topics into their own hyper linked chapters. Great resource and available here.


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