Art Law Report

Google Books, Fair Use, and Visual Art—Second Circuit Writes Decision That Would Have Helped Two Years Ago

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 23, 2015 at 11:42 AM

With much anticipation, the Second Circuit issued its opinion last week in the Google Books case (Authors Guild et al. v. Google, Inc.), brought by authors Jim Bouton (of Ball Four fame) and others against Google for the latter’s program of scanning millions of library books, whether or not those books are in the public domain. My overwhelming reaction to the opinion, however, in the realm of visual art, is what a lost opportunity the Prince v. Cariou decision was two years ago, and some optimism that the most recent decision will start to provide useful guidance for practitioners that has been harder to give with confidence since Prince. After two years of the preeminence of the first fair use factor threatening to dwarf everything with a “transformativeness” test that essentially any use could meet, Google Books (even while finding a fair use) restores some balance to that analysis.

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Topics: Richard Prince, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Hildebrand Gurlitt, 510 U.S. 569, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Prince v. Cariou, Second Circuit, Canal Zone, Patrick Cariou, Toward a Fair Use Standard, Michelangelo, Suicide Girls, Inc., Google Books, The Legal Guide for Museum Professionals, Pierre Laval, Jim Bouton, Copyright, transformativeness, Fair Use, Nazi-Looted Art: Risks and Best Practices for Muse

GoldieBlox Parodies the Beastie Boys and “Girls”—Fair Use is Clear, What About Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 26, 2013 at 6:35 AM

Coverage has exploded this week of a dispute between the Beastie Boys and a company called “GoldieBlox,” over the latter’s use of the song “Girls” in a video encouraging engineering and structural play toys for girls. Despite coverage focusing on whether Goldie Box copied the Beastie Boys’ song (which is undisputed, really, and thus beside the the point in this case), the fair use of the earlier song is clear: the new version is a parody of a leering anthem, intended to subvert inherent sexism into a message of empowerment. Curiously, however, the fair use in another video on the company’s site using the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems less clear, but so far unnoticed.

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Topics: License to Ill, Copyright Act, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Queen, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, Adam Yauch, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Girls”, GoldieBlox, Copyright, MCA, Beastie Boys, Fair Use

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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