Art Law Report

Shepard Fairey Wanted on Vandalism Charge for Street Art in Detroit—Will This be the VARA Test Case?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 25, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Detroit police have issued a warrant for well-known artist Shepard Fairey in connection with his recent visit to the city, on suspicion of vandalism. While Fairey was apparently in Detroit to paint a commissioned mural at One Campus Martius, he told the Detroit Free Press, “I still do stuff on the street without permission. I'll be doing stuff on the street when I'm in Detroit.” According to the Free Press:

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Topics: Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Patrick Cariou, Moral Rights, Andre the Giant, Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, Barack Obama, One Campus Martius, Banksy Does New York, VARA, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, appropriation copyright, Copyright, 5Pointz, Hope, Detroit Free Press, Associated Press, Fair Use

Sorting Through this Week’s Gardner Heist Developments: Old News is No News

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 21, 2015 at 12:53 PM

In a rare development not manufactured to coincide with the anniversary of the March 18, 1990 theft of thirteen paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a man was arrested this week who has been identified previously by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the theft. So has there been a break in the case? Not really, but the details bear scrutiny. If, as a judge was told by the prosecution, Robert Gentile had been recorded offering to sell the paintings for $500,000, it would be a major breakthrough (and remarkable, given that a $5 million reward is available). But the recording has not been made public, and the FBI has greatly overstated the certainty of various players' involvement before, so the view here is skeptical until further evidence.

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Topics: Robert Gentile, Gardner Heist, Robert Guarente, Stephen Kurkjian, John Kerry, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, FBI, Bobby Donati, A. Ryan McGuigan, George Reissfelder, Breitbart.com, Vinnie Ferrara, Museums, Associated Press, Master Thieves: the Boston Gangsters who Pulled of, David Turner, Breitbart, Museum of Fine Arts

Free Speech, Fair Use, and Meaning—Recapping An Evening of Copyright and the Visual Arts at the Sotheby’s Institute

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Last night was a fascinating evening at the Sotheby’s Institute in New York, where Judith Prowda was celebrating the launch of her new book Visual Arts and the Law (Lund Humphries 2013). The book, not at all incidentally, is a must-have.

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Topics: free speech, Richard Prince, Amy Adler, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Judith Prowda, Canal Zone, Patrick Cariou, Lund Humphries, Boies Schiller, American Society of Media Photographers, Yes Rasta, Kirkland & Ellis, NYU Law School, Events, Picture Archive Council of America, Shepard Fairey, Dale Cendali, Copyright, Hope, Visual Arts and the Law, transformative, First Amendment, Associated Press, Sotheby’s Institute, Fair Use

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About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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