Photo Attorney

Jan 10, 2009

Richard Prince Sued for Copyright Infringement

As reported by Cityfile, Patrick Cariou, a French photographer whose work was published in the book, Yes Rasta, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Richard Prince, the Gagosian Gallery, and others. Cariou alleges in his Complaint that Prince's paintings, that were displayed and sold during the "Canal Zone" exhibition and published in a book of the same name, incorporated Cariou's photographs (thus comprising derivative works) without permission or authorization.

Prince is known as an "appropriation artist." Last year, a controversy arose from Prince's use of photographs from Marlboro advertisements and has a history of using other commerical works. Prince doesn't deny copying the images. But the legal issue is whether such copying is fair use - Prince's art may qualify as "transformative works." [More information is available in my article on fair use.] Since only a court can make that decision, that remains to be seen.

Thanks to Tim Atherton and Matt Ward for submitting this topic.