A Breakdown in Appropriation

Michael McCullough's Blog

A New View on Using Copyrighted Images

By Michael McCullough

When a Federal court scratches its head about how to regulate the art market, get ready for total baldness as you start tearing out your hair. Last week, a Federal Appeals Court in New York issued one of the daftest opinions of recent memory in the copyright infringement case against Richard Prince. As you read the decision you get a sense that the court not only misunderstands the art market completely but that it lost track of what the copyright law was meant to protect. If the decision is not overruled by the Supreme Court then the case will certainly change the way artists use appropriated images.

I don’t think the judges ever thought to consider the difference between artistic and commercial achievements in the art market, a common problem in our larger society. And you can see this coming…

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