Friday, March 25, 2011

Contrapositive: Fair Use of Rastafarians?

If you aren't at all interested in fair use doctrine for copyrights...
On left is Patrick Cariou's original photograph, one in a series of Rastafarians. On right is Richard Prince's appropriation art and his justification for the transformative prong of the fair use doctrine.
Should a well-known appropriation artist be able to profit from (arguably) minimal changes to the original, (arguably) painstaking work of a lesser-known artist?

What about if the appropriation artist makes several million dollars and museums won't display the original art because "it's already been done"? And what if he never seeks permission of the original artist, and states that he doesn't care about that artist's expressive purpose?

I personally feel this decision came down perfectly, but several of my art-background friends are all about protecting the rights of appropriation artists. You can read the text of the court decision, as well as the original artist's thoughts on his successful suit.