Prince is a celebrity artist who over the years has exhibited his work at the Guggenheim, created an album cover for Sonic Youth, and sold paintings for millions of dollars. But on Friday, Manhattan federal district court judge Deborah Batts ruled that works from Prince’s Canal Zone exhbition misappropriate the Yes, Rasta photographs of Patrick Cariou.
“[The ruling] lays to rest the argument that has been advanced in some quarters that appropriation artists enjoy almost an exemption from the copyright laws and a very relaxed version of the fair use doctrine,” said Cariou counsel Brooks.
In the wake of the ruling Prince has retained Boies Schiller for an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Boies Schiller partners George Carpinello and Eric Maurer and associate Josh Schiller will work with Hayes of Hanly Conroy. Schiller told us Prince first contacted him about the appeal last weekend, on a referral from a mutual friend. Boies Schiller is no stranger to art litigation; the firm recently represented The Andy Warhol Foundation in a dispute over its authentication policies.
Schiller said the appeal will reopen the fair use issue. “The court’s decision and injunction has narrowed appropriation and transformative use in artwork in what may be an unprecedented way,” Schiller told us.
Cariou has claimed that he is entitled to all of the approximately $18 million Prince and his co-defendants, the Gagosian Gallery and its owner, Lawrence Gagosian, have realized from the sale of the infringing paintings. Judge Batts has scheduled a May 6 conference on such issues as damages and attorneys fees.