Court rules Richard Prince liable for Infringement

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According to a federal court judge in New York, artist Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery infringed on photographer Patrick Cariou’s copyrights when Prince produced “Canal Zone,” a series of 29 paintings taken from Cariou’s book titled Yes, Rasta. Prince created collages and paintings from photographs — details but also some “used in their entirety or nearly so” — torn from Cariou’s book.  Prince’s maintained that Cariou’s photographs were “‘mere compilations of facts…arranged with minimum creativity…[and] are therefore not protectable’ by copyright law,” and that his transformation of Cariou photographs through his appropriation is protected under the doctrine of “fair-use.” The judge rejected Prince’s defense, refering to the Rogers v. Koons case: “If an infringement of copyrightable expression could be justified as fair use solely on the basis of the infringer’s claim to a higher or different artistic use . . . there would be no practicable boundary to the fair use defense.” Fair Use permits copyrighted works to be used without permission under certain provisions, in particular criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  Prince has been ordered by the court to destroy all the infringing works. To read more, go to the complete March 21 pdn article.

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