fair use in Weinmayr 2019


hip Defined by Market Value and Celebrity Status?

To illustrate this point I will briefly digress to discuss a controversial
court case about Prince’s authorial legitimacy. In 2009, New-York-based
photographer, Patrick Cariou began litigation against Prince, his gallerist
Larry Gagosian and his catalogue publisher Rizzoli. Prince had appropriated
Cariou’s photographs in his series Canal Zone which went on show at Gagosian
Gallery.[34](ch11.xhtml#footnote-492) A first ruling by a district judge
stated that Prince’s appropriation was copyright infringement and requested
him to destroy the unsold paintings on show. The ruling also forbade those
that had been sold from being displayed publicly in the
future.[35](ch11.xhtml#footnote-491)

However Prince’s eventual appeal turned the verdict around. A second circuit
court decided that twenty-five of his thirty paintings fell under the fair use
rule. The legal concept of fair use allows for copyright exceptions in order
to balance the interests of exclusive right holders with the interests of
users and the public ‘for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or
research’.[36](ch11.xhtml#footnote-490) One requirement to justify fair use is
that the new work should be transformative, understood as presenting a new
expression, meaning or message. The appeal’s court considered Prince’s
appropriation as sufficiently transformative because a ‘reasonable
observer’[37](ch11.xhtml#footnote-489)would perceive aesthetic differences
with the original.[38](ch11.xhtml#footnote-488)

Many artists applauded the appeal court’s verdict, as it seemed to set a
precedent for a more liberal approach towards appropriation art. Yet attorney
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and art historian Lauren van Haaften-Schick voiced
concerns about the verdict’s interpretation of ‘transformative’ and the
ruling’s underlying assumptions.

The questions of ‘aesthetic differences’ perceived by a ‘reasonable observer’,
Sarmiento rightly says, are significant. After all, Prince did not provide a
statement of intent in his deposition[39](ch11


end to portray Cariou as a sort of hobby artist or
‘lower class amateur’ in Sarmiento’s words,[45](ch11.xhtml#footnote-481)
whereas Prince is described as a ‘well-known appropriation
artist’[46](ch11.xhtml#footnote-480) with considerable success in the art
market.[47](ch11.xhtml#footnote-479) Such arguing is dangerous, because it
brings social class, celebrity status and art market success into play as
legal categories to be considered in future copyright cases and dismisses
‘Cariou’s claim as a legitimate author and
artist’.[48](ch11.xhtml#footnote-478) The parties eventually reached an out-
of-court settlement regarding the remaining five paintings, and their
infringement claim was returned to the district court meaning that no ruling
had been issued. This pragmatic settlement can be interpreted as a missed
opportunity for further clarification in the interpretation of fair use. No
details about the settlement have been disclosed.[49](ch11.xhtml#footnote-477)

Richard Prince presented himself in his court deposition as an artist, who
‘do[es]n’t really have a message,’ and was not ‘trying to create anything with
a new meaning or a new message.’[50](ch11.xhtml#footnote-476) Nevertheless the
appeal court’s ruling transforms the ‘elusive artist not only into a subject,
but also into an [artist] author’[51](ch11.xhtml#footnote-475) — a status he
set out to challenge in the first place. Therefore Richard Prince’s ongoing
games[52](ch11.xhtml#footnote-474) might be entertaining or make us laugh, but
they stop short of effectively challenging the conceptualisation of
authorship, originality and property because they are assigned the very
properties that are denied to the authors whose works are copied. That is to
say, Prince’s performative toyi


al creativity, skill and talent, which have a potential for
wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of
intellectual property.’[65](ch11.xhtml#footnote-461) This exploitation of
intellectual property as intangible capital has been taken on board by
institutions and public management policymakers, which not only turn creative
practices into private property, but trigger working policies that produce
precarious self-entrepreneurship and sacrifice in pursuit of
gratification.[66](ch11.xhtml#footnote-460)

We find this kind of thinking reflected for instance on the website built by
the University of the Arts London to give advice on intellectual property —
which was until recently headlined ‘Own It’.[67](ch11.xhtml#footnote-459)
Here, institutional policies privilege the privatisation and propertisation of
creative student work over the concept of sharing and fair use.

There is evidence that this line of thought creates a self-inflicted
impediment for cultural workers inside and outside art colleges. The College
Art Association, a US-based organization of about fourteen thousand artists,
arts professionals, students and scholars released a report in 2015 on the
state of fair use in the visual arts.[68](ch11.xhtml#footnote-458) The survey
reveals that ‘visual arts communities of practice share a great deal of
confusion about and misunderstanding of the nature of copyright law and the
availability of fair use. […] Formal education on copyright, not least at art
colleges, appears to increase tendencies to overestimate risk and underuse
fair use.’ As a result, the report states, the work of art students ‘is
constrained and censored, most powerfully by themselves, because of that
confusion and the resulting fear and anxiety.’[69](ch11.xhtml#footnote-457)

This climate even results in outright self-censorship. The interviewees of
this study ‘repeatedly expressed a pre-emptive decision not to pursue an
idea’[70](ch11.xhtml#footnote-456) because gaining permission from right
holders is often difficult, time consuming or expensive. The authors of this
report called this mindset a ‘permissions culture’, giving some examples. ‘I
think of copyright as a cudgel, and I have been repeatedly forestalled and
censored because I have not been able to obtain copyright permission’, stated
one academic, whose research did not get approval from an artist’s estate. He
added: ‘For those of us who work against the grain of [the] market-driven arts
economy, their one recourse for controlling us is copyright.’ Another said:
‘In many cases I have encountered artists’ estates and sometimes artists who
refuse rights to publish (even when clearly fair use) unless they like the
interpretation in the text. This is censorship and very deleterious to
scholarship and a free public discourse on
images.’[71](ch11.xhtml#footnote-455) One scholar declared that copyright
questions overshadowed his entire work process: ‘In my own writing, I’m
worrying all the time.’[72](ch11.xhtml#footnote-454) In such a climate of
anxiety ‘editors choose not to publish books that they believe might have
prohibitive permission costs; museums delay or abandon digital-access
projects’, as Ben Mauk comments in the New Yorker
Magazine.[73](ch11.xhtml#footnote-453)

The language of law does harm because it has the rhetorical power to foreclose
debate. Legal and political science scholar Jennifer Nedelsky traces the
problem to the fact ‘that many right claims, such as “it’s my property”, have
a conclusory quality. They are meant to end, not to open up


2010) ‘Life Among the Pirates’, Granta Magazine,


Albanese, Andrew (11 January 2011) ‘J. D. Salinger Estate, Swedish Author
Settle Copyright Suit’ in Publishers Weekly,
news/article/45738-j-d-salinger-estate-swedish-author-settle-copyright-
suit.html>

Allen, Greg, ed. (2012) The Deposition of Richard Prince in the Case of Cariou
v. Prince et al. (Zurich: Bookhorse).

AND Publishing (4 May 2011) ‘AND Publishing announces The Piracy Lectures’,
Art Agenda, piracy-lectures/>

Andersson, Jonas (2009) ‘For the Good of the Net: The Pirate Bay as a
Strategic Sovereign’, Culture Machine 10, 64–108.

Aufderheide, Patricia, Peter Jaszi, Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic (2014)
Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use Among Visual Artists and the Academic and
Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report (New York: College Art
Association).

Barron, Anne (1998) ‘No Other Law? Author–ity, Property and Aboriginal Art’,
in Lionel Bently and Spyros Maniatis (eds.), Intellectual Property and Ethics
(London: Sweet and Maxwell), pp. 37–88.

Barthes, Roland (1967) ‘The Death of the Author’, Aspen, [n.p.],


Benjamin, Walter (1970) ‘The Author as Producer’ in New Left Review 1.62,
83–96.

Bently, Lionel (1994) ‘Copyright and the Death of the Author in Literature and
Law’, Modern Law Review 57, 973–86.

— Andrea Francke, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Prodromos Tsiavos and Eva Weinmayr
(2014) ‘A Day at the Courtroom’, in Andrea Francke and Eva Weinmayr (eds.),
Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Refere


xhtml#footnote-493-backlink) Sollfrank, ‘Copyright Cowboys’.

[34](ch11.xhtml#footnote-492-backlink) Thirty paintings created by Prince
contained forty-one of Cariou’s photographs. The images had been taken from
Cariou’s book Yes Rasta (Brooklyn: powerHouse Books, 2000) and used by Prince
in his painting series Canal Zone, which was shown at Gagosian Gallery, New
York, in 2008.

[35](ch11.xhtml#footnote-491-backlink) It might be no coincidence (or then
again, it might) that the district court judge in this case, Deborah Batts, is
the same judge who ruled in the 2009 case in which Salinger successfully
brought suit for copyright infringement against Swedish author Fredrik Colting
for 60 Years Later Coming Through the Rye, a sequel to Salinger’s book. See
note 31.

[36](ch11.xhtml#footnote-490-backlink) ’In determining whether the use made of
a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall
include — (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use
is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the
nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the
portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the
effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted
work.’ US Copyright Act of 1976, amended 2016,


[37](ch11.xhtml#footnote-489-backlink) ‘What is critical is how the work in
question appears to the reasonable observer, not simply what an artist might
say about a particular piece or body of work.’ Cariou v Prince, et al., court
document, No. 11–1197-cv, page 14,
[http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/f6e88b8b-48af-401c-
96a0-54d5007c2f33/1/doc/11-1197_complete_opn.pdf#xml=htt


original intent.’ Court Opinion, p. 13\. For full
deposition see Greg Allen (ed.), The Deposition of Richard Prince in the Case
of Cariou v. Prince et al. (Zurich: Bookhorse, 2012).

[40](ch11.xhtml#footnote-486-backlink) The court opinion includes a dissent by
Circuit Judge Clifford Wallace sitting by designation from the US Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ‘I, for one, do not believe that I am in a
position to make these fact- and opinion-intensive decisions on the twenty-
five works that passed the majority’s judicial observation. […] nor am I
trained to make art opinions ab initio.’ Ibid., p. 5\.

‘Furthermore, Judge Wallace questions the majority’s insistence on analyzing
only the visual similarities and differences between Cariou’s and Prince’s art
works, “Unlike the majority, I would allow the district court to consider
Prince’s statements reviewing fair use … I see no reason to discount Prince’s
statements as the majority does.” In fact, Judge Wallace remarks that he views
Prince’s statements as “relevant to the transformativeness analysis.” Judge
Wallace does not believe that a simple visual side-by-side analysis is enough
because this would call for judges to “employ [their] own artistic
Judgment[s].”’ Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and Lauren van Haaften-Schick, citing
court documents. ‘Cariou v. Prince: Toward a Theory of Aesthetic-Judicial
Judgements’, Texas A&M Law Review, vol. 1, 2013–2014, p. 948.

[41](ch11.xhtml#footnote-485-backlink) Court opinion, p. 18.

[42](ch11.xhtml#footnote-484-backlink) Ibid., p. 17.

[43](ch11.xhtml#footnote-483-backlink) Ibid., pp. 4–5.

[44](ch11.xhtml#footnote-482-backlink) Ibid., p. 18.

[45](ch11.xhtml#footnote-481-backlink) Muñoz Sarmiento and van Haaften-Schick,
‘Aesthet


s>

[66](ch11.xhtml#footnote-460-backlink) See critical discussion of the creative
industries paradigm and the effects of related systems of governance on the
precarisation of the individual: Lovink and Rossiter, My Creativity, and
Isabell Lorey, State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious (London:
Verso, 2015).

[67](ch11.xhtml#footnote-459-backlink) University of the Arts London,
‘Intellectual Property Know-How for the Creative Sector’. This site was
initially accessed on 30 March 2015. In 2018 it was taken down and integrated
into the UAL Intellectual Property Advice pages. Their downloadable PDFs still
show the ‘Own-it’ logo, /freelance-and-business-advice/intellectual-property-advice>

[68](ch11.xhtml#footnote-458-backlink) Patricia Aufderheide, Peter Jaszi,
Bryan Bello, and Tijana Milosevic, Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use Among
Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues
Report (New York: College Art Association, 2014).

[69](ch11.xhtml#footnote-457-backlink) Ibid., p. 5.

[70](ch11.xhtml#footnote-456-backlink) Sixty-six percent of all those who
reported that they had abandoned or avoided a project because of an actual or
perceived inability to obtain permissions said they would be ‘very likely’ to
use copyrighted works of others more than they have in the past were
permissions not needed. Ibid., p. 50.

[71](ch11.xhtml#footnote-455-backlink) The Copyright, Permissions, and Fair
Use Report gives some intriguing further observations: ‘Permissions roadblocks
result in deformed or even abandoned work. Exhibition catalogues may be issued
without relevant images because rights cannot be cleared. Editors of art
scholarship reported journal articles going to print with b


fair use in Sollfrank 2018


on the way the rights
holders decide to act. As with all civil law, there is no judge without a
plaintiff, which means even if there is no express consent by the rights
holders, the work can remain in the archive as long as there is no request for
removal.8 Its status, however, is precarious. We find ourselves in the
notorious gray zone of copyright law where nothing is clear and many things
are possible—until somebody decides to challenge this status. Exploring the
borders of this experimental playground involves risk-taking, but, at the same
time, it is the only way to preserve existing freedoms and make a case for
changing cultural needs, which have not been considered in current legal
settings. And as the 20 years of Ubu’s existence demonstrate, the practice may
be experimental and precarious, but with growing cultural relevance and
reputation it is also gaining in stability.

_Fair Use and Public Interest_

At all public appearances and public presentations Goldsmith and his
supporters emphasize the educational character of the project and its non-
commercial orientation.9 Such a characterization is clearly intended to take
the wind out of the sails of its critics from the start and to shift the
attention away from the notion of piracy and toward questions of public
interest and the common good.

From a cultural point of view, the project unquestionably is of inestimable
value; a legal defense, however, would be a difficult undertaking. Copyright
law, in fact, has a built-in opening, the so-called copyright exceptions or
fair use regulations. They vary according to national law and cultural
traditions and allow for the use of copyrighted works under certain, defined
provisions without permission of the owner. The exceptions basically apply to
the areas of research and private study (both non-commercial), education,
review, and criticism and are described through general guidelines. “These
defences exist in order to restore the balance between the rights of the owner
of copyright and the rights of society at large.”10

A very powerful provision in most legislations is the permission to make
“private copies”, digital and analog ones, in small numbers, but they are
limited to non-commercial and non-public use, and passing on to a third party
is also excluded.11 As Ubu is an online archive that makes all of its records
publicly accessible and, not least, also provides templates for further
copying, it exceeds the notion of a “private copy” by far. Regarding further
fair use provisions, the four factors that are considered in a decision-making
process in US copyright provisions, for instance, refer to: 1) the purpose and
character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or
is for non-profit educational purposes; 2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the
copyrighted work as a whole; and 4) the effect of the use upon the potential
market for the value of the copyrighted work (US Copyright Act, 1976, 17 USC.
§107, online, n.pag.). Applying these fair use provisions to Ubu, one might
consider that the main purposes of the archive relate to education and
research, that it is by its very nature non-commercial, and it largely does
not collide with any third party business interests as most of the material is
not commercially available. However, proving this in detail would be quite an
endeavor. And what complicates matters even more is that the archival material
largely consists of original works of art, which are subject to strict
copyright law protection, that all the works have been copied without any
transformative or commenting intention, and last but not least, that the
aspect of the appropriateness of the amount of used material becomes absurd
with reference to an archive whose quality largely depends on
comprehensiveness: the more the merrier. As Simon Stokes points out, legally
binding decisions can only be made on a case-by-case basis, which is why it is
difficult to make a general evaluation of Ubu’s legal situation.12 The ethical
defense tends to induce the cultural value of the archive as a whole and its
invaluable contribution to cultural memory, while the legal situation does not
consider the value of the project as a whole and necessitates breaking it down
into all the individual items within the collection.

This very brief, when not abridged discussion of the possibilities of fair use
already demonstrates how complex it would be to apply them to Ubu. How
pointless it would be to attempt a serious legal discussion for such a
privately run archive becomes even clearer when looking at the problems public
libraries and archives have to face. While in theory such official
institutions may even have a public mission to collect, preserve, and archive
digital material, in practice, copyright law largely prevents the execution of
this task, as Steinhauer explains.13 The legal expert introduces the example
of the German National Library, which was assigned the task since 2006 to make
back-up copies of all websites published within the .de sublevel domain, but
it turned out to be illegal.14 Identifying a deficiently legal situation when
it comes to collecting, archiving, and providing access to digital cultural
goods, Steinhauer even speaks of a “legal obligation to amnesia”

 

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