This week in class we were introduced briefly to concept of appropriation in photography, which was not something I had openly considered, been consciously aware of or researched. Richard Prince is one such artist and his work caused a debate in the class when we were shown his “New Portraits – Instagram” work. I, amongst others in the class, raised questions about breach of copyright, terms and conditions etc. but Zig had assured us that Richard Prince had not lost copyright infringement litigation. 

So of course I resolved to look into this myself and found only one case involving Richard Prince and a French photographer Patrick Cariou. It revolved around the a series of photographs by Cariou called Yes Rasta which were appropriated and “transformed” by Prince. Cariou won at first instance but lost on appeal and eventually settled. In short the court held that Prince could rely on the defence of fair use to defeat the infringement claim. 

Two good case summaries can be found below and the first article also considers the the consequences of the judgment (and it will save me summarising it :))

A Google search will bring up many others. 

It made me think about my images on instagram and other social media outlets – but given the judgment in Cariou v Prince, one wonders whether account deletion would serve any purpose…. I mean, I don’t have Beyonce and Jay Z following me those sites 🙂