PetaPixel

“Rephotographer” Richard Prince Loses Copyright Infringement Case

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.

Richard Prince Loses Fair Use Argument (via Pixiq)


 
 
  • Anonymous

    Prince, not Price, no? Ideally this ends up being a huge PR windfall for Cariou.

  • Kurt765

    Just looking at first glance, I would say it’s pretty obvious that Price’s work is a derivative work of Cariou’s photograph. Fair use protections do not apply when you’re taking someone else’s work, modifying it and selling it as your own. Of course, every copyright case is decided on a case by case basis, so your results may vary.

  • Kurt765

    Just looking at first glance, I would say it’s pretty obvious that Price’s work is a derivative work of Cariou’s photograph. Fair use protections do not apply when you’re taking someone else’s work, modifying it and selling it as your own. Of course, every copyright case is decided on a case by case basis, so your results may vary.

  • Anonymous

    What a douche. Create your own content. I don’t know who the bigger schmuck is… the ‘artist’ or the idiot that would pay a million dollars for that brainfart.

    Art can be so ridiculous at times.

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Yikes, megatypo. Thanks a lot for the catch

  • Anonymous

    This “artist” has a lot of nerve to claim fair use, at least with the example given.

  • Klwalton

    Now a judgment against Shepard Fairey, please?

  • http://twitter.com/Seshan Seshan

    Man, I should start saving images from 4chan, open a gallery and make millions. Who would even pay to see stuff like that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000900794076 Rafael George Rey

    I don’t know what’s more outrageous; Prince plagiarizing another photographers work or the people who paid money for said plagiarized work…

  • Steve

    The word “Rephotographer” makes me cringe. Would people take the Beatles records, sing over them and claim them as their own? Photography always seems to be considered a lesser art form that’s open to abuse. It’s really good to see the legal system making the sensible ruling on this.

    I also much prefer the original photographs to the “art” version. It really is amazing that people generally wont pay much for photos but if they’re ruined by an artist, they will pay crazy money.

  • http://www.flickr.com/avaviel Avaviel

    I’d say it’s still art, and it still has a place. Artists have sued and have been sued in the past – This will simply be free publicity for Prince. I thought of Whistler. Here is a quote from the trial where he sued someone else for slander:

    Holker: “What is the subject of Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket?”
    Whistler: “It is a night piece and represents the fireworks at Cremorne Gardens.”
    Holker: “Not a view of Cremorne?”
    Whistler: “If it were A View of Cremorne it would certainly bring about nothing but disappointment on the part of the beholders. It is an artistic arrangement. That is why I call it a nocturne….”
    Holker: “Did it take you much time to paint the Nocturne in Black and Gold? How soon did you knock it off?”
    Whistler: “Oh, I ‘knock one off’ possibly in a couple of days – one day to do the work and another to finish it…” [the painting measures 24 3/4 x 18 3/8 inches]
    Holker: “The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?”
    Whistler: “No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.”

  • http://www.flickr.com/avaviel Avaviel

    I’d say it’s still art, and it still has a place. Artists have sued and have been sued in the past – This will simply be free publicity for Prince. I thought of Whistler. Here is a quote from the trial where he sued someone else for slander:

    Holker: “What is the subject of Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket?”
    Whistler: “It is a night piece and represents the fireworks at Cremorne Gardens.”
    Holker: “Not a view of Cremorne?”
    Whistler: “If it were A View of Cremorne it would certainly bring about nothing but disappointment on the part of the beholders. It is an artistic arrangement. That is why I call it a nocturne….”
    Holker: “Did it take you much time to paint the Nocturne in Black and Gold? How soon did you knock it off?”
    Whistler: “Oh, I ‘knock one off’ possibly in a couple of days – one day to do the work and another to finish it…” [the painting measures 24 3/4 x 18 3/8 inches]
    Holker: “The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?”
    Whistler: “No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.”

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Steve and his Beatles analogy. It would be like me taking a track of of song, adding my voice to it during the chorus, and then selling it as my own work. Only a moron would think the record labels would just sit by and let that happen.

  • Matt

    No. Someone like Mr. Brainswash, maybe.

  • Matt

    No. Someone like Mr. Brainswash, maybe.

  • Pingback: Richard Prince’s Views on Copyright

  • Pauljmoleiro

    you guys are so close-minded how can you not see that he can completely changed the meaning and context of the photographs.

    how different does it have to be before he can call it his own, If you take a picture of a building are you making something new or are you just derivative of the architect who designed the building.

  • Kurt765

    Architecture is different. Photography of buildings do not constitute copyright infringement.

  • Bigmonynaye

    suck deeessssssssss nuts

  • http://twitter.com/HappyTinfoilCat Happy Tinfoil Cat

    It actually is. Some buildings are copyrighted and those rights rigorously defended. Many are trademarked as well. Even the lights on the Eiffel Tower are copyrighted. The TransAmerica building can’t be shown other than as part of the SF skyline.

  • http://www.seaholm.com

    Yes, I agree. Fact is, the manipulated photograph is different from the original. It’s evolved. Everything is derivative. Copyright is alienating. Copyright thwarts potential. Copyright kills creativity.