Federal judge refuses to dismiss the case against Richard Prince

Jul 25, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Federal judge refuses to dismiss the case against Richard Prince

Jul 25, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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I assume most of us will have a hard time forgetting Richard Prince making a fortune from selling other people’s Instagram screenshots. Photographer Donald Graham decided to file a lawsuit when Prince ripped off his image without permission. Despite Prince’s attempts to get the court throw out the lawsuit – the case goes on.

Last week, a federal judge in New York officially refused to dismiss the charges against Prince. According to the New York Times, this case could set an example of how the fair-use rules relate to Instagram, and it was about time.

In 2014, Prince set up an exhibition called “New Portraits” at the Gagosian Gallery. He exhibited unchanged photos of various Instagram users and sold them for $100,000. The only effort he made was to add his own Instagram-style comment underneath each photo, and as expected – this caused a lot of controversies.

Not all ripped-off artists filed a lawsuit. For example, Doe Deere didn’t plan to go after Prince, even though he profited on her photo he used without permission:

However, Donald Graham decided to take action and sue Prince over the use of his photo “Rastafarian Smoking a Joint.” As the New York Times reports, he first filed a cease-and-desist order against Prince, and in 2015 he filed a lawsuit.

https://www.instagram.com/p/ujbM_MhWDB/?tagged=princeofappropriation

Since then Prince, the Gagosian Gallery, and its owner Larry Gagosian tried to get the court dismiss the case. They claim that Prince’s work was “transformative,” which means it didn’t infringe the fair use. However, the judge Sidney H. Stein discharged their complaints. He writes: “the primary image in both works is the photograph itself. Prince has not materially altered the ‘composition, presentation, scale, color palette, and media’ originally used by Graham.

Richard Prince didn’t seem to keep his cool after the judge’s decision. He tweeted (and then deleted): Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game. &their wizardry professorial boredom keeps coughing up a vick’sVAPOrub. Has the “Phony fraud photographers” made you cringe? He also retweeted the art critic Jerry Saltz, who is apparently on his side (and seems ever more annoyed than Prince):

Despite the judge’s decision to go on with the case, Prince’s lawyer Joshua Schiller stated that “the judge applied the wrong standard” and that they “will be able to show fair use.” I wonder how they plan on doing it, and I sincerely hope they won’t succeed.

[via FStoppers, New York Times, The Art Newspaper]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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20 responses to “Federal judge refuses to dismiss the case against Richard Prince”

  1. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    I hope this bag of vinegar and water gets destroyed in court and has to get a job at McDonalds just to feed his smug face. Stealing the photos is one thing but then turning around and insulting the people he stole from tells the complete story. No respect for anybody’s art or intellectual property.

  2. Andrea Gruber Avatar
    Andrea Gruber

    There are two things I don’t get: 1. Who would pay 100000$ for an instagram screenshot? 2.Why not just share with the original artists? Still a lot of money to be made. And I wonder if the lady with the blue hair still sticks to her guns that she wouldn’t go after him, if Graham wins his law suit.

    1. Dunja Đuđić Avatar
      Dunja Đuđić

      Maybe she changes her mind if Graham wins.
      And as for buying Instagram screenshots – I was wondering the same thing.

    2. Andrea Gruber Avatar
      Andrea Gruber

      Dunja she should. All of them should.

    3. Robert Ball Avatar
      Robert Ball

      Take a look at “the 12 million dollar stuffed shark” (by Don Thompson) there is some good insight into how the likes of Larry G. manage that side of the art market. There really isn’t any school of economics that appropriately explains the the buy side behavior. In this case Larry drives both sides of the microeconomic equation (supply and demand)…

    4. Andrea Gruber Avatar
      Andrea Gruber

      Robert yes I know, however, how can there be a demand for Instagram snapshots? If I want to see pictures on Instagram, I go to Instagram and look at those pictures. That is the point I don’t get. But I also don’t get why somebody pays a Million for a well lit potato photo.

    5. pincherio Avatar
      pincherio

      Most people don’t buy art to appreciate it. They buy it as an investment. There is a perception perpetuated by critics that Prince is an artist whose work is transcendent and is sure to be even more valuable in the future. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. It is the perception which matters, and that is what art investors bank on. What this lawsuit has done is to tarnish the credibility, not just of Prince, but also all the art critics who supported him. As far as I am concerned, I hope Graham wins his case and exposes these people for the frauds they are and takes down those pretentious critics as well.

  3. Rob Hall Avatar
    Rob Hall

    This copyright infringer needs to be taken down.

  4. Matthew A Basham Avatar
    Matthew A Basham

    This is ridiculous.

  5. Michael Ciurleo Avatar
    Michael Ciurleo

    The world is full of scumbags.

  6. Taylor Maduro Port Avatar
    Taylor Maduro Port

    Hope it costs him more than everything he has

  7. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    MAKE THIS PRICK REFUND EVERY DIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Erik Cocks Avatar
    Erik Cocks

    I think it would be fun to see him do a series of Getty Images! Get a pile of “Getty Letters” and let them fight that one out. #300. Having a “theme” for your work is one thing, but this series is so tired now, the lawsuit can only help revive it. I wonder if this was on purpose? Just sayin’.

  9. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
    Chris Hutcheson

    Hopefully if this case is won, other photographers will climb on the bandwagon and sue the crap out of this guy.

  10. Leona Rose Avatar
    Leona Rose

    there was no reason for the greedy scum-bagg-ed-ness; i hope they ruin this jerk… he could have collaborated … no need for such sickening greed… this is obviously blatant copyright infringement.

  11. Charles Unitas Avatar
    Charles Unitas

    Anyone here find the irony in the statement about “fake” photographers making “crap” images? This from a man who supports a true fake artist who simply “repackages” someone else’s work. And to devalue someone’s photo just because he doesn’t deem it “artistic”? Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel for excuses to support Prince’s blatant disregard for someone else’s intellectual property. Not only do I hope he loses this case but also has to make monetary restitution to all those people whose photos he pilfered.

  12. Bob Ray Avatar
    Bob Ray

    This is not an issue about art. It is about simple theft of property that wasn’t yours.

    The only transformation was adding some additionally stolen copy underneath the image this guy stole.

    Richard Prince is not an artist. He is a thief and, along with the gallery owners who sold this work knowing it was stolen imagery, should be held responsible for their actions.

    ‘Hell hath no fury…’ greater that an artist whose work is stolen: a bit of a revision for relevance which I hope brings all these parties to their financial knees …

  13. Orion Avatar
    Orion

    If I was Donald I’d make a 1000 reprints of Prince’s ‘art’ and give them away for free.

  14. John Booker Avatar
    John Booker

    Richard Prince deserves it.Thankful of the judges decisions

  15. Recon Avatar
    Recon

    How is this not a clear cut case of copyright infringement? Someone else took the image. Taking a screenshot and sending it off to be printed and framed for you is not art. Jerry Saltz spouting off about copyright is hilarious, what a phony. And the girl too smitten with her image on display to care is sickening.