U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald said last week that U.S. Copyright Act pre-empted the California law which allows some artists to collect 5 percent of any resale of their work if they lived in California or if the work was sold there.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (covering California) had already gutted part of the California Resale Royalty Act last year when it ruled that out of state sales were not subject to the law. The plaintiffs plan to appeal this latest ruling to the 9th Circuit.
Given the weak legs left on this California law, perhaps artists should start looking to other legal and business avenues for financial redress.
UPDATE: April 19, 2016
Nicholas O’Donnell has a very interesting take on this:
This interpretation is entirely understandable. The problem is that the District Court has admittedly sided with copyright scholars and against an earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit on that very point. In 1980, the Court of Appeals decided Morseburg v. Baylon. In Morseburg, the Ninth Circuit addressed essentially the same challenge: that the language of the 1909 Copyright Act (which is similar to § 109 of the 1976 Copyright Act now in effect) preempted the CRRA.
April 18th, 2016 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in Art Law
Speaking to the Art Newspaper, former Knoedler Gallery director, Ann Freedman, speaks out on one of the most notorious legal scandals to hit the art world.
“Looking back, there can be things I didn’t see at the time…Could I have done some things differently? Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I don’t have an answer sitting here. I will at some point probably.”
‘Beyond Conceptual Art,’ installation view (image by Lauren van Haaften-Schick)
Art historian and curator, Lauren van Haaften-Schick, reviews the current exhibition on the life and work of Seth Siegelaub.
We know Siegelaub as the co-author of the The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, but the exhibition also illustrates Siegelaub’s life as an “art dealer, curator, publisher, plumber, bibliographer, rare book dealer, librarian, art collector, textile specialist, cataloguer of Marxism and mass media studies, researcher in time and causality, and on and on.”
Indeed ahead of his time, Siegelaub cleared a path for those of us that think that an artist is more than an object-making mute.
April 10th, 2016 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in Copyright
On April 7th, 2016, the poet, actor, photographer, and makeup artist James R. Miller filed a lawsuit against the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (RMF), claiming copyright to four photographs that have been shown and sold for decades as Mapplethorpe’s work.
More via Hyperallergic.
April 10th, 2016 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in Litigation
The Vincent Award, one of the most prestigious prizes for contemporary art in Europe, has been cancelled this year after two artists pulled out—one citing a legal row between the Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo and the Dutch art collector Bert Kreuk.
Something tells us that there’s more to this story than immediately meets the eye. More here.
Apparently the Kumbaya moment was short-lived.
Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in California against dealers Stefan Simchowitz and Jonathan Ellis King, who served the artist with a lawsuit last year.
The lawsuit alleges infringement of Mahama’s right under the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act, and is a countersuit to legal action taken by Simchowitz and Ellis King, filed in June 2015, that alleges that Mahama’s effort to disown work he sold to the defendants for $150,000 could cost them $4.45 million—the total price the dealers believe they can sell the almost 300 works for.
The new suit filed by Mahama claims that he insisted that the work not be sold part and parcel, but as a complete work.
April 1st, 2016 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in Free Speech
Apparently, when it comes to Ivy League culture, it’s more popular to parade around campus with a mattress than it is exhibit modernist sculpture. But what else would these Ivy League babies be doing if not protesting the removal of abstract art? After all, it’s not like there’s a Vietnam War going on.
File under “Political Correctness.”