Sunday, April 21, 2024

“the law, as it currently stands, does not confer a property interest to the subject of a photograph regardless of how objectionable the photograph’s origins may be”

A Massachusetts judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a woman claiming that she, not Harvard University, is the rightful owner of haunting images of an enslaved father and daughter who she says were her ancestors.

More here.


Jeff Koons and Pompidou Lose Copyright Infringement Appeal

For those that are still in awe of copyright infringement cases, here’s an update on the Koons/Pompidou/Pig controversy. In brief, Koons and the Pompidou lost the appeal and won themselves an increase in monetary awards due to the photographer of the girl/pig image. As of this moment, Koons still displays the image of the pig and girl on his website.


Can Artists Use Their Sale Contracts to Game the System?

Great article by Lauren van Haaften-Schick on the artists’ contract.

In March 1971, a broadside boldly labelled The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement rolled off an independent press in New York. Across the poster’s front was a manifesto by Seth Siegelaub, the innovative conceptual art curator-publisher and former dealer, outlining ‘some generally acknowledged inequities in the art world’. Its verso, drafted by the young lawyer Robert Projansky, contained 19 clauses in heavy-handed legalese promising to remedy those ills.

Did it, or does it, work?


Can’t fool artificial intelligence

Detecting art forgeries is hard and expensive. Art historians might bring a suspect work into a lab for infrared spectroscopy, radiometric dating, gas chromatography, or a combination of such tests. AI, it turns out, doesn’t need all that: it can spot a fake just by looking at the strokes used to compose a piece.

More here.


Banksy, the radical artist, seeks trademark protection

I bit flippant, I know. But see the post below. Here we have yet another guerrilla-style “artist” attempting to use intellectual property to safeguard his assets. How Che Guevara!


More artists seek refuge in the law

Don’t necessarily agree with this Bloomberg article on the pipedream belief that artists can, or should, change social ills through legal action. As the cliche goes, careful what you wish for. More law only means more regulation and, moreover, an increased reliance on a structure that may be betting against you. But there you have it. Should be good for all the aspiring art lawyers out there.


NY District Court rules that Covid is a natural disaster

Finding in favour of Phillips Auctioneers LLC, Hon. Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York dismissed JN Contemporary Art LLC’s complaint against Phillips, holding that (i) “[i]t cannot be seriously disputed that the COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster”; and (ii) Phillips, therefore, did not breach its consignment and guarantee agreement with JN Contemporary when it invoked the force majeure provision[1] in the agreement to terminate the parties’ relationship.

The ruling is under appeal.

More here.


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