Thursday, June 4, 2020

Rabbi Sues American Apparel

Yesterday, Woody Allen sued American Apparel Inc, claiming it had used his image, depicting him as a rabbi, in advertising on billboards and the Internet without his consent. The billboard ads appeared in New York and California, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.


Allen did not endorse or consent to such use: “Allen does not engage in the commercial endorsement of products or services in the United States,” according to the lawsuit. He is seeking damages in excess of $10 million. More from Reuters.


Art not Terrorism: Hackers Acquitted

So far two for two. Showing once again that judges aren’t completely clueless when it comes to art.

“Seven Czech artists who faked a nuclear explosion in a stunt broadcast live on national television were acquitted yesterday of spreading false information, escaping a potential prison term of up to three years.


The Ztohoven group of young artists admitted hacking into a live panoramic broadcast of the Krkonose Mountains in the north of the country on June 17 last year, after climbing a television tower to attach a computer. Viewers watching the public broadcaster Czech Television saw a bright flash of light followed by an ominous mushroom cloud in the distance.

A county court in Trutnov ruled yesterday that the stunt ‘was not a criminal act’, according to Czech news station CT24.” More on this in The Guardian.


Georgia Man Beats Wal-Mart in Trademark Suit

Another intellectual property victory for the lonely artist against a mega-corporate conglomerate. Aided by Lawrence Lessig, Public Citizen and the ACLU, “[a] Conyers, Ga., man has won a two-year legal battle with Wal-Mart, which has demanded he stop making and selling T-shirts, beer steins and other items that sport slogans such as “Wal-ocaust” and “Wal-Qaeda.” He started producing his Wal-ocaust-themed products and offering them for sale at the Web site, which allows sellers to create their own home pages to market their items.”


(bumper sticker logo from Logo image by Charles Smith)

Read the rest of this entry »


Dirty Words and Fleeting Expletives Revisited

This past week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review decency regulations as they apply to television and radio, specifically, “fleeting” or accidental use of expletives in live broadcasts. In effect, to review the 30 year-old ruling of FCC v. Pacifica Radio (whether a broadcast of patently offensive words dealing with sex and excretion may be regulated because of its content). The Pacifica case specifically dealt with George Carlin’s “seven dirty words”: S**t, P**s, F**k, C**t, C**ks****r, Mother*****r and T**s.

Regarding the “fleeting” expletives and accidental use, The First Amendment Center writes: “for most of the 30 years since, broadcasters have felt generally unthreatened when a prime-time expletive escaped from an entertainer’s mouth. That changed after the seemingly spontaneous use of the F-word by Cher in 2002 and both the F-word and the S-word by Nicole Richie in 2003 on Fox broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards. In accepting an award, Cher said critics had counted her out for decades, and she added, ‘So f— ‘em. I still have a job, and they don’t.’”

The case is FCC v. Fox Television Stations.


Death of the Art Critic

The Guardian’s Adrian Searle has an interesting article on the uselessness of criticism and art critics today (including on Dave Hickey, Jerry Saltz, and Donald Duck). Nothing in this article touches on law, but being that Clancco does partake in online writing and criticism we felt the need to comment. Although Searle makes some interesting and on-point observations, we feel he neglects some other pertinent issues, such as the role played in the death of relevant (and interesting) criticism by the redundant and moribund theories still being kicked around universities and art schools. Perhaps if critics accessed other discourses more relevant to our times and dispensed with the laundry list of canonical writers, more people would not only read their criticism but actually “take them seriously.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Is Cleavage Copyrightable?


(ex-Governor Spitzer’s friend, Kristen)

A very interesting story comes our way via Donn Zaretsky’s Artlaw Blog concerning Governor Spitzer’s, excuse us, ex-Governor Spitzer’s friend, Kristen (and her cleavage). It seems Kristen’s lawyer is a bit upset that media sources are using photos obtained from her Myspace page without permission. Some think this is fair use, and we agree. As a side note, in-house counsel at Clancco has decided that if Kristen sues us for copyright infringement we will seek vigorous steamroller representation—Mr. Spitzer himself. Enjoy!


Rogers v. Koons All Over Again?

Art Law Blog: A district court in Illinois has concluded that “a photograph of a three dimensional toy is a derivative work under copyright law,” therefore anyone photographing the three-dimensional object without consent is infringing the three-dimensional author’s copyright.

To those familiar with Rogers v. Koons, this may seem like a logical conclusion. However, copyright scholar William Patry disagrees, arguing that photographs of three-dimensional objects, sans any tranformative effect, are depictions and not derivative works, thus granting the photographing party a copyright in the depiction of the object.

The case is Schrock v. Learning Curve. More on this here.


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law,, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.

Switch to our mobile site