Batmobile appeal: US Court pledges to stand up to the villains of copyright

How does a US Court of Appeals judge respond when tasked with determining the legal fate of a beloved comic book super car? “Holy copyright law, Batman!”

In a decision handed down on 23 September, Judge Ikuta of the 9th Circuit held the reproduction and sale of the Batman’s car, the Batmobile, constituted a breach of US copyright law. Responding to the opinion of the court that the Batmobile is a copyrightable “character”,  some IP lawyers suggest the judgment raises more questions than it answers. Continue reading

Should artist royalties be an international issue?

In July copyright experts, figures from the art world, and government officials from eight countries gathered in Geneva to discuss the royalty rights for artists. As detailed in a summary provided by the Art Newspaper’s Art Market supplement, they were calling for an international review of royalty rights for artists following a conference at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. Continue reading

Instagram updates its image guidelines – photos of nudity in paintings and sculptures are now OK

In short, the photo and video sharing app says be respectful: no nudity, no spam, no law-breaking. Although not a dramatic change to previous guidelines, the overhaul now includes more details and has adopted a tougher tone. Before, guidelines asked users to be polite and respectful. The revised version is much longer and specifies that “serious threats of harm to public and personal safely aren’t allowed.”   Continue reading

Richard Prince in trouble again for inappropriate appropriation

It seems a month doesn’t go by without another artist being accused of copyright infringement. This time it is the American artist Richard Prince. US art news site Hyperallergic reports that Gagosian Gallery, who represents the artist, has received cease and desist letters accusing Prince of the illegal use of a photograph titled Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, Jamaica shot by the photographer Donald Graham. It is believed that the letters, sent by lawyers on behalf of Graham, forbid the exhibition and distribution of the work in question and any other materials containing unauthorized reproductions of Graham’s work. Continue reading

Art for art’s sake, Money for God’s sake

Author: Tom Broadhurst

Last century I heard Paul Goldstein’s then provocative view – that the Internet and digital revolution would be the death of copyright.  Others have said similar things but this decease of copyright has not happened – copyright still robustly thrives in the digital arena and is vital in the visual arts. In 2011 an estimated £70M of licensing revenue went to writers and artists (see p. 5 of the report ‘An economic analysis of copyright‘). Continue reading