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A Primer on Transformativeness: Green Day Proves Fair Use of Image in Concert Video

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 9, 2013 at 10:34 AM

The Ninth Circuit has ruled in favor of the band Green Day in a copyright case that gives much better guidance on fair use and transformativeness than this year’s earlier Prince v. Cariou Second Circuit case. Despite copying an entire image, in the backdrop of a video that showed onstage at a multi-million dollar concert tour, the appeals court upheld judgment in Green Day’s favor because the use added new meaning and purpose, and thus was transformative. It is a victory for expressiveness, but more importantly, a useful set of instructions that Prince failed to give.

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Topics: Cariou v. Prince, Derek Seltzer, Roger Staub, Graffiti Art, Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown, East Jesus Nowhere, Copyright, Ninth Circuit, Jesus Christ, Performance Environmental Design, Scream Icon, Fair Use

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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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