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March 1, 2024 Event: “Protecting Cultural Property: The 1954 Hague Convention at 70”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 9, 2024 at 3:33 PM

The Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts at Columbia Law School, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and the New York chapter of the Responsible Art Market Initiative (of which I am co-chair with Birgit Kurtz) have organized an event on March 1, 2024 to be held at Columbia Law School entitled “Protecting Cultural Property: The 1954 Hague Convention at 70.”

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Topics: Jane Levine, Philippa Loengard, Kernochan Center for Law Media and the Arts, DePaul University College of Law, Columbia Law School, Sotheby's, Patty Gerstenblith, Responsible Art Market, Lucian Simmons

Look to the Purpose, not the Meaning—Supreme Court Rejects Warhol Foundation’s Fair Use Defense Against Lynn Goldsmith

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 26, 2023 at 9:42 AM

The Supreme Court of the United States has issued its long-awaited ruling in the dispute between photographer Lynn Goldsmith and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (AWFVA) on May 18, 2023. The Court held the AWFVA’s delivery to Condé Nast magazine in 2016 of an Andy Warhol silkscreen from 1984 based on a 1981 Goldsmith photograph of the musician Prince did not satisfy the first factor (of four) of the statutory fair use elements. The Court took a narrow approach, explicitly declining to reach the question of whether Warhol’s original work would qualify for a fair use defense, holding only that the 2016 use did not.

(Williams College Museum of Art Security Badge, ca. 1993)

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Topics: Cariou v. Prince, Copyright Act, Philippa Loengard, Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music Inc., Kernochan Center for Law Media and the Arts, 17 U.S.C. § 107, Columbia Law School, Andy Warhol, Fair Use, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Syracuse University, Condé Nast, Kagan, Sotomayor, Roberts, Titian, Lynn Goldsmith, Vanity Fair, Thomas, Giorgione, Goya

Sullivan files Supreme Court Amicus Brief to Clarify Fair Use and Transformativeness in Warhol’s Use of Lynn Goldsmith’s Prince Photos

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 15, 2022 at 10:55 AM

Sullivan has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the upcoming Supreme Court case Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith. The brief was filed as counsel of record for copyright scholar Philippa S. Loengard, the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School. The case concerns the applicability of Section 107 of the Copyright Act, which permits as a fair use that would otherwise be copyright infringement—to a print made by Andy Warhol from a photograph of the musician Prince by photographer Lynn Goldsmith. In particular, the question presented to the Court addresses the implications of the Court’s holding nearly thirty years ago in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579 (1994) that allowed for the possibility that a secondary use could be considered a fair use if it were sufficiently “transformative.” What exactly that means in the context of visual art has been a fraught—and at times incoherentsubject in recent years. Our brief explains that the Court should return the analysis of fair use to the four factors established by Congress. In the case of the first of the four factors, the Court should focus on the statutory language of the purpose and character of the works. By contrast, the inquiry into the meaning or message of the works advocated by the Warhol Foundation and the amici supporting it is a fool’s errand that provides no clarity and would render the copyright in photographs effectively unenforceable. This case is not a battle between Lynn Goldsmith and Andy Warhol; those artists proved entirely capable in 1984 of arranging the balance for themselves. It is a battle between a maximalist view by the Warhol Foundation that dismisses the value of photography as a creative medium at all.

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Topics: Copyright Act, Roy Orbison, Toward a Fair Use Standard, Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music Inc., Kernochan Center for Law Media and the Arts, Philippa S. Loengard Esq., Columbia Law School, Prince, transformative, Andy Warhol, Fair Use, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Condé Nast, People Magazine, The Time, 2 Live Crew, Death Valley, Velázquez, Rubens, King Philip IV of Spain, Las Meninas, Section 107, Billboard, Pierre N. Leval, “Oh, Pretty Woman”, Mickey Mouse

New VARA Ruling Muddies Analysis on Moral Rights and Significance of “Site Specific” Art

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 12, 2015 at 6:37 AM

A recent injunction ruling that prohibited the destruction of the “Bicentennial Freedom Mural” in Corona, California had occasion to consider the rights asserted by the plaintiffs and artists under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), 17 U.S.C. § 106A. The order ultimately granted the injunction but on different grounds, holding that the plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on their VARA claim.

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Topics: work of recognized stature, Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, 555 U.S. 7, Moral Rights, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 987 and 989, Inc., Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, California, Santa Ana River Mainstem Project, Pippa Loengard, 54 U.S.C. § 306108, VARA, Kernochan Center for Law Media and the Arts, Corona, Ronald Kammeyer, Columbia Law School, Phillips v. Pembroke Real Estate, Copyright, Prado Dam, NHPA, Administrative Procedure Act, National Historic Preservation Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106A(a)(3)(A)-(B), 459 F.3d 128, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, SARM

“Copyrights on the Street” at Copyright Society Annual Meeting June 9, 2015

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 26, 2015 at 5:27 AM

I am pleased to be participating in a panel discussion in two weeks at the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.’s annual meeting in Newport, Rhode Island. The panel, entitled “Copyrights on the Street: Creating and Preserving Graffiti and Other Art in Public Spaces,” will explore:

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Topics: Copyrights on the Street Creating and Preserving G, Newport, Rhode Island, Graffiti Art, Visual Artists Rights Act, Deirdre A. Fox, Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Peter Caruso, VARA, Kernochan Center for Law Media and the Arts, Phillippa Loengard, Events, 17 U.S.C. § 106A, Columbia Law School, Copyright, Christopher J. Robinson

"Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" at Columbia October 28, 2013

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM

A reminder that two weeks from Monday, I will join a panel discusion at Columbia Law School entited "Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" From the event description:

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Deaccession, Pippa Loengard, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Law Report, Events, Columbia Law School, Nicholas O'Donnell, New York Times

UPDATED Deaccessioning Panel Discussion at Columbia Law School October 28, 2013, 12:15 PM

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 24, 2013 at 5:54 AM

I will be on a panel at the Center for Law and the Arts at Columbia Law School on Monday, October 28, 2013 discussing deaccessioning issues. Details are yet to come, but co-panelists will include Donn Zaretsky of John Silberman Associates (and writer of the Art Law Blog), and Roberta Smith of the New York Times. The event is scheduled for lunch. The panelists have quite different views of the issue, and it promises to be a lively and well-informed discussion.

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Columbia Law School, Center for Law and the Arts, New York Times

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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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