In a decision issued November 27, 2023, a Chinese court ruled that AI-generated content can enjoy protection under copyright law. The finding, the first of its kind in China, is in direct conflict with the human authorship requirement under U.S. copyright law and may have far-reaching implications.Continue Reading Computer Love: Beijing Court Finds AI-Generated Image is Copyrightable in Split with United States
A UK court has ruled that Getty Image’s lawsuit against Stability AI for copyright infringement over generative AI technology can proceed. Stability had sought to have the case dismissed, alleging in part, that the AI models were trained in the US. However, the court relied on seemingly contradictory public statements by Stability’s CEO, including that Stability helped “fast track” UK residency applications of Russian and Ukrainian developers working on Stable Diffusion. This suggests that at least some development occurred in the UK. A similar case involving the parties is pending in the US. One significance of where the case is heard is that in the US, fair use can be a defense to copyright infringement. But not in the UK. This is just one example of where disparate country laws relating to AI may cause AI developers to forum shop to develop AI where the laws are most favorable. For example, Japan has announced that it will not enforce copyrights on data used in AI training. If such activity is found to be infringing in the UK, US or elsewhere, it is conceivable that some companies will move their AI training activities to Japan.Continue Reading Getty Image’s AI Model Training Lawsuit in UK Against Stability to Proceed
In August 2023, the New York District Attorney’s (NYDA) Antiquities Trafficking Unit, which specializes in investigating looted artifacts, seized a headless statue valued at $20 million from the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) under a search warrant issued by a New York court. The NYDA announced that the seizure was linked to a criminal investigation targeting a smuggling ring that trafficked antiquities looted from Turkey through Manhattan. It further asserted that since the alleged traffickers were primarily based in New York, it provided them with the legal authority to seize the statue from another state, deeming New York as the central hub of the conspiracy.Continue Reading Titleless Tales of the Headless
In 1966, an ancient bronze bust found its way to the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. Believed to depict the daughter of the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, it was titled “Portrait of a Lady (A Daughter of Marcus Aurelius?),” and sat on display in its new home for decades – until now.Continue Reading Busted: Manhattan Prosecutors Seize an Ancient Roman Bust from the Worcester Art Museum
On June 8, 2023, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision held that a trademark claim concerning “a squeaky, chewable dog toy designed to look like a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey” which, as a play on words, turns the words “Jack Daniels” into “Bad Spaniels” and the descriptive phrase “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” into “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet” does not receive special First Amendment treatment where the accused infringer used the trademarks at issue to designate the source of its own goods and that, with respect to a Lanham Act dilution by tarnishment claim, “[t]he use of a mark does not count as noncommercial just because it parodies, or otherwise comments on, another’s products.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules “That Dog Don’t Hunt”: Bad Spaniels Toy’s Use of JACK DANIELS Marks is a Poor Parody and Dilution Act Applies
On May 18, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of famed rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.’s (AWF), in a long-awaited decision impacting fair use under Section 107(1) of the Copyright Act. The opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, in which Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Jackson joined, held that the “purpose and character” of AWF’s commercial use of Warhol’s portraits of Prince shared the same commercial purpose of the original photograph taken by Ms. Goldsmith and, as a result, did not constitute fair use. The Court’s decision affirmed the ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the Warhol work was derivative of the original, and noted that “the new expression may be relevant to whether a copying use has a sufficiently distinct purpose or character” but that factor was not dispositive by itself. The Court found that the Warhol Foundation’s licensing of the Orange Prince to Conde Nast did not have a sufficiently different purpose as the Goldsmith photograph because both were “portraits of Prince used in magazines to illustrate stories about Prince.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds Warhol’s Commercial Licensing of “Orange Prince” to Vanity Fair Is Not Fair Use and Infringes Goldsmith’s Famed Rock Photo
The highly anticipated jury verdict in the Hermès litigation over MetaBirkins NFTs has some important takeaways for both artists and sellers of NFTs as well as brand owners.Continue Reading Takeaways from the Hermès Litigation over MetaBirkins NFTs
The appreciation of works of art is subjective, and rightfully so as the experience of viewing art, and what it makes one feel is personal. This seems to guarantee that no artist or piece is left out of the realm of consumption, so long as there is a person who can appreciate the expressive work.Continue Reading To Be, or Not to Be? Considerations for A.I.- Generated Art
The assumption that artists love credit is challenged when an artist appears to repudiate their authorship. Sometimes repudiation arises from personal animus while in other instances an artist might feel that their work is no longer “up to snuff.” In some extreme circumstances, artists can be involuntarily thrust into a claim to repudiate their alleged authorship, which happened in the case of Fletcher v. Doig. Continue Reading “Not My Work”: When Artists Dispute Authorship
The strength of the US dollar against the British pound – at present, the pound has dropped nearly 18% since the beginning of 2022 – would appear to make the purchase of art and other cultural property in the UK and Europe far less expensive for Americans. But the tumultuous state of the world has thrown a multitude of wrenches into British art exports to the US. The (not over yet) pandemic, (nor over yet) Brexit crisis, growing inflation, expanding regulations to prevent anti-money laundering, frustrating global supply chain backups and other issues have made it maddeningly difficult for US-based buyers to acquire art from UK sellers. The effect is thwarting major purchases.
Continue Reading For US Art Collectors Shopping in the UK, the Dollar’s Strength is Deceiving
The artworks stolen by the Nazis are the last prisoners of World War II.
– Ronald Lauder, Woman in Gold
Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer was a wealthy sugar magnate in Vienna, Austria where his six Gustav Klimt paintings were housed. His wife, Adele Bloch-Bauer, was the subject of two of the paintings. On March 12, 1938, the Nazis invaded and claimed to annex Austria. Ferdinand, who was Jewish and had supported efforts to resist annexation, fled the country ahead of the Nazis, ultimately settling in Zurich. In his absence, the Nazis took over his home and seized his artworks, which included the Klimt paintings. Adele Bloch-Bauer I is one of them and ended up at the Austrian Gallery.