Famed “appropriation” artist Richard Prince has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit by photographer Patrick Cariou, according to a letter submitted by Cariou’s attorney on Tuesday. The terms of the agreement are confidential.
In 2008, Prince unveiled a series of 30 artworks that incorporated Cariou’s photographs of Rastafarians. Prince displayed his pieces at Manhattan’s esteemed Gagosian Gallery, which sold some of them to collectors for a combined $10.5 million. Cariou, who earned only $8,000 in royalties from a book of his photos, sued Prince and the Gagosian for copyright infringement.
Southern District Judge Deborah Batts (See Profile) ruled in favor of Cariou in 2011, finding that Prince’s works didn’t qualify for fair use protection.
In April 2013, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit partly reversed Batts, ruling that 25 of Prince’s 30 works are protected by the fair use doctrine. It remanded the case for further proceedings regarding the remaining five works.
The circuit ruling was a setback for Cariou, but the parties pushed forward with summary judgment briefings on the remaining five works. Several trade groups signed an amicus brief backing Cariou, including the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association.
Joshua Schiller of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, who represented Prince, said his client was pleased with the settlement. He also praised the Second Circuit’s ruling, saying that it validated Prince’s use of appropriation as an art form.
Cariou’s lawyer, Daniel Brooks, a partner at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, said the parties are happy with the settlement.