Richard Prince, the well known and much maligned artist, famous for his works in which he reuses the photographs of others with minimal to no modification, has lost his attempt to have a copyright lawsuit against him thrown out of court.
A federal judge in New York refused to dismiss the case against Richard Prince last week. It stems from his 2014 exhibition, "New Portraits," in which Prince made large prints of Instagram posts from other users, then added his own comments (made to look as if they were posted on the app). Photographer Donald Graham's “Rastafarian Smoking a Joint” appeared in the exhibition after being featured on another account. He filed a cease-and-desist order that went unheeded, causing him to escalate the matter to a lawsuit in 2015.
While Prince and Larry Gagosian, the owner of the gallery that featured the exhibition, argued that the work is transformative, in issuing an opinion, United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein wrote: "The primary image in both works is the photograph itself. Prince has not materially altered the composition, presentation, scale, color palette, and media originally used by Graham.”
Prince seems entirely unrepentant, recently retweeting the following:
In another tweet that has since been deleted, he wrote (rather ironically, in my opinion): "Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game." Depending on the outcome of the case, there could be new precedents for what constitutes fair use vs copyright infringement.
[via New York Times]