The EU’s newly minted “right to be forgotten” may generate an Orwellian memory hole into which can be thrown the inconvenient past. “The [Washington] Post received a letter from Mr. Lazi? in September requesting that [classical music critic Anne] Midgette’s review be scrubbed from the Web. When she failed to reply, he upped the ante by claiming that it was ‘defamatory, offensive and mean-spirited’ and thus violates his legal right to be forgotten.” [Terry Teachout, WSJ via Arts Journal]
[John Farrier, "Alarming Signs from the Dresden Public Art Show," Neatorama, more]
Speaking of warnings, Ted Frank’s observation on this…. exotic Hallowe’en costume is, “The warning is critical.”
“A Romanian man who has admitted to stealing masterpieces by Gauguin, Monet and Picasso on Tuesday threatened to sue the Dutch museum he took them from for making his robbery too easy.” [AFP/ArtDaily]
Estate shuts down Shel Silverstein biography: given the withholding of needed permissions, we may never live to read the full complicated story of the Beat/Bohemian Playboy contributor who lived to become a beloved children’s author and popular illustrator. “I heard back from a law firm whose name seemed to come straight out of a Shel Silverstein poem: Solheim, Billing, and Grimmer.” [Joseph Thomas, Slate]
All it takes are a few warnings for the benefit of visitors who might not otherwise realize watery surfaces are wet [Chevy Chase, Maryland; courtesy Carter Wood]
You’d think if anyone owned the phrase, it would be Her Majesty’s Government or, failing that, the bookselling couple in the North of England who brought the W.W. II-vintage poster back from obscurity. But one former TV producer has different ideas, and would like to own the rights. [CBS News (autoplays; I've removed the previously embedded video because I couldn't disable autoplay); earlier]
The cultural institution doesn’t make clear enough to visitors that its admission donation is only recommended, according to the lawyers [NY Daily News]
…there is one item in the collection [of the late New York dealer Ileana Sonnabend], a work by Robert Rauschenberg that cannot be sold. It contains a stuffed bald eagle and under the terms of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird Act, it is a felony to “possess, sell, purchase, barter, transport, import or export any bald eagle — alive or dead.” The estate, advised by three experts, including one from Christie’s, therefore, valued the work at zero. The IRS decided it was worth $65 million, and is demanding $29.2 million in taxes and $11 million in penalties because the heirs “inaccurately” stated its value.
[John Steele Gordon, Commentary on NYT reporting; Popehat]
The famous artist, known for his portrait mosaics composed of tiny pictures, has threatened legal action against Scott Blake, a man who came up with a Photoshop plug-in that allows the user to create similar tiled portraits. Blake wrote this in response [Salon via Doctorow, BoingBoing]
Locked in litigation with the Associated Press over whether his famous poster improperly infringed on the copyright of the news photograph on which it was based, Shepard Fairey did not conduct himself well. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Fairey “went to extreme lengths to obtain an unfair and illegal advantage in his civil litigation, creating fake documents and destroying others in an effort to subvert the civil discovery process.” [AP]
The Art Newspaper takes up a trend we’ve noted before in this space:
In New York, the art lawyer Ronald Spencer, of Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, agrees with Sanig. “This is a very serious problem. Specialists are often academics earning $100,000 [or less] a year and they can’t afford litigation they are fearful of being a defendant in a lawsuit, even if they should win.” He admits that there are more of these cases in the US: “It’s a cliché, but we are more litigious here.” He says that the US system, whereby the plaintiff does not have to pay the legal fees of the successful defendant, encourages this.
Highly regarded art scholars are keeping mum, or communicating only cryptically, regarding their doubts as to the authenticity of claimed works by French master Edgar Degas. Why? They’re afraid of being sued:
Unfortunately, such silence is not an isolated incident but part of what seems to be a growing trend nationwide among art experts, where fear of litigation seems to be stifling open, honest and constructive debate. Also keeping much quieter than they should on the matter of the Degas sculpture market are organizations such as the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Art Dealers Association of America, the American Association of Museums and the College Art Association.
[William D. Cohan, Bloomberg]
The story everyone’s talking about: if you wanted a definitive example of the dangers of overbroad “cyber-stalking” statutes, here you go. [WSJ Law Blog, Balko, Volokh, Reason, Popehat]
Oh, what an expensive bet on “fair use” that idea for album art turned out to be [Andy Baio, waxy.org via @petewarden]
Evil Twin Comics:
Get ready for non-stop action, action, action — LEGAL action, that is! The incredible, insane true story of the American comic book industry continues with the ALL-LAWSUIT ISSUE! DC vs. Fawcett! Disney vs. the Air Pirates! Jack Kirby vs. Marvel over his stolen artwork! Steve Gerber over Howard the Duck! Don De Carlo over Josie and the Pussycats!
["Comic Book Comics #5" via THR Esq. and Lowering the Bar]
It draws a lawsuit in France from the holder of the rights to the notorious killer’s famous 1960 photo. [The Sun, U.K.]