Art Law Report

"Free Brady" T Shirt Battle and Copyright: Who was First?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 14, 2015 at 9:06 AM

Somewhat tongue in cheek, we looked on Wednesday at the potential copyright implications from a back and forth between Governor Charlie Baker and Barstool Sports, which sells “Free Brady” T shirts (playing on Shepard Fairey’ famous Hope image) challenging the New England Patriots’ quarterback’s suspension by the National Football League (“DeflateGate” or “Ballghazi,” depending on who you ask). Gov. Baker recently wore a competing vendor’s “Free Brady” T shirt when doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Given the sales potential arising out of one of the biggest stories in the country right now (insert decline-of-society comment here), however, the financial stakes are no laughing matter. The response to Wednesday's post has been overwhelming; we had more visitors in a three-hour window than we typically get in a month.

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Topics: National Football League, Copyright Act, David Portnoy, Free Brady, Barstool Sports, DeflateGate, Trademark, I Love Boston Sports, Ice Bucket Challenge, Shepard Fairey, Copyright, Senator Obama, NFL, Hope, Tom Brady, Ballghazi, Charlie Baker

Free Brady!—Did Governor Baker’s T-Shirt Have a Copyright Problem?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 12, 2015 at 6:17 AM

Tom Brady will be in New York today at a hearing in the litigation over his 4-game suspension by Roger Goodell for allegedly being “generally aware” of the deflation of footballs in the AFC Championship thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts last winter. For good legal analysis of the absolute fiasco that is the NFL’s attempt at a middle-school science project (instigated by the condition of a football introduced from the opposing team—but congratulations on another AFC Finalist banner) and the resulting adjudicatory process, I suggest John Dowd’s blog (“The NFL's investigation of and rules against Tom Brady are a travesty, and they've resulted in uncalled-for penalties. And it's all based on a report that lacks basic integrity, fairness and credibility.”). Dowd is an experienced federal prosecutor and led the investigation, among others, into Pete Rose and gambling for Major League Baseball. Most notably, he was sufficiently offended by the whole exercise to take the issue up with no relationship to the parties. Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk and Steph Stradley have also covered the story well.

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Topics: Left Shark, ProFootballTalk, ALS. Metro, Copyright Act, Pete Frates, David Portnoy, Indianapolis Colts, AFC Championship, Free Brady, Mike Florio, Barstool Sports, Jacqueline Kennedy, Trademark, John Dowd, Ice Bucket Challenge, Shepard Fairey, Major League Baseball, Copyright, Roger Goodell, Senator Obama, Hope, AFC Finalist, Andy Warhol, Tom Brady, Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Governor, Fair Use

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

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

“Clark Rockefeller” Picture Ruling Addresses Copyrightable Elements of News Photographs

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a copyright case that addresses the important elements of what constitutes an expressive work capable of protection. The lines of what can be protected in news photography may not be as simple as the First Circuit opinion suggests.

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Topics: Beacon Hill Times, Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, First Circuit, Barack Obama, Eric McCormack, Clark Rockefeller, Shepard Fairey, Christian Gerhartsreiter, Copyright, Hope, Who is Clark Rockefeller

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