Update: The ruling has been overturned, and a judge has ruled that Prince’s usage is fair use.
Richard Prince, the artist who “rephotographed” a cigarette advertisement and had it sell for more than $1 million, has just lost a copyright infringement lawsuit after being sued by photographer Patrick Cariou. Prince had taken 41 photographs made by Cariou from the book Yes, Rasta, modified them in various ways (sometimes minor), and displayed them at a gallery exhibition as his own work (above is one of Cariou’s photos on the left with Prince’s piece on the right). The exhibition went on to generate over $10 million for Prince and the gallery.
In his defense, Prince claimed that his appropriation constituted fair use. US District Judge Deborah Batt didn’t buy it, and ruled in Cariou’s favor, ordering all the infringing works be destroyed. No word on what damages Cariou might be awarded, but we’re guessing he’ll probably be compensated quite handsomely.