Last week, a judge ruled against Richard Prince’s argument of fair use when he incorporated photographs from Patrick Cariou’s book “Yes, Rasta” into his Canal Zone paintings:
Mr. Prince testified in the case that he had no interest in the original meaning of the photographs he used, Judge Batts wrote. In creating the “Canal Zone” works he mainly used the imagery as a way to make references to painters likePicasso and Willem de Kooning and to connect the works to a post-apocalyptic screenplay he was planning that featured a reggae band.
For that reason, and because Mr. Prince used the imagery for commercially available paintings, Judge Batts ruled that he and the Gagosian gallery violated Mr. Cariou’s copyrights. She ordered all unsold copies of the “Canal Zone” paintings and other related works to be impounded and ordered that the gallery inform anyone who already owned copies of the works that it would be a violation of copyright laws to display them. (She also ordered the parties to return to court in May to discuss possible damages.)
Judge Rules Against Artist Richard Prince in Copyright Case (Arts Beat/New York Times)