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Copyright lawyer

Hi everyone,
I’m looking for some legal advice. A very successful German painter has taken one of my photographs and turned it into a painting. It’s nearly an exact copy. I’m trying to determine my rights as the image is copyrighted. Anyone know a lawyer I can talk to?
Thank you,
Nina Berman

by Nina Berman at 2006-07-04 02:41:13 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) New York City , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Ed Greenberg in New York…..but you will probably have to fund that action, I don’t think its a big $$$$ case, and German law may apply there, right? What is it a picture of?

by [former member] | 04 Jul 2006 03:07 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
yeah talk about photo realism . . . this is taking the esthetic a bit far! Interesting case. I would like to see the pic and the painting myself. You might also PM Sion Touhig who is very up on these matters and might have some helpful advice. Good luck, Nina.

by Jon Anderson | 04 Jul 2006 03:07 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Under US law the issue would be whether the painting is a derivative work or is “fair use” of the copyright. The former is an infringement and illegal; the latter is not. Whether the painting is fair use is determined by an anaylsis of the facts surrounding the work and its copying (e.g., How substantial is the reproduction? How much does the painting impede your ability to exploit the photo economically?). But Andy is right, EU law may well apply to the copying. It may have materially different principles.


I suggest that you consider the practicalities of the situation. You will have to hire a lawyer to enforce your rights, either in the US or more likely in Germany. Assume that it will cost you at least $20K in attorneys fees to litigate this. Under US law (and maybe EU law as well) you may be able to recover that from an infringer IF you prevail. Under some European liigations schemes, however, you may be liable for the attorneys fees of the adverse party if you do not prevail. So you could be out a minimum of $20K and liable for a similar amount for the other party’s legal fees.


So, consider whether you really wnt to pursue this thing legally. Can you somehow make lemonade out of this lemon. Remember, in some respects imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Think of ways you can bootstrap your own status and profile out of this event. Are there any publications that would want to write about this? Can you show up at a showing of the painting with your photo in hand (appropriately enlarged)? Germany’s weather isn’t so bad this time of year!

by [former member] | 04 Jul 2006 11:07 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Hi Nina -
you may have already done this, but try researching the archive at PDN, or talk to Holly – they’ve reported on at least one similar case. Also worth checking out New York Foundation for the Arts (www.nyfa.org)- they may have pro-bono legal services for New York based artists. You might also talk to Gary Fabiano, I recall he successfully pursued a copyright infringement with a pro-bono legal team.

by teru kuwayama | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | new york, United States | | Report spam→
You may want to call a photographer named Peter B Kaplan in Delaware. He’s pretty famous for his work on the Statue of Liberty restoration in the mid 80’s. He knows quite a bit about copyright infringement and has helped photographers out in the past. I have no idea if he’s still involved in this type of thing or not, but he may have some advice.


Good luck.


-Art

by Art Rothfuss I I I | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | Caracas, Venezuela | | Report spam→
i would contact the german artist first.maybe you can come to some sort of amicable arrangement without jumping into costly and maybe unsuccessful litigation.

by Michael Bowring | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
i would contact the german artist first.maybe you can come to some sort of amicable arrangement without jumping into costly and maybe unsuccessful litigation.
if you want to research precedents then have a look at andy warhol’s early career.did he pay campbells or any of the press photogs/agencies whose images he used?

by Michael Bowring | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
Call Drew Epstein, in Boston. This sort of thing is Red Meat for him…
ANDREW D. EPSTEIN
Barker, Epstein & Loscocco
10 Winthrop Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
Telephone (617) 482-4900
FAX: (617) 426-5251

by greg mironchuk | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | boston, MA, United States | | Report spam→
i would contact the german artist first.maybe you can come to some sort of amicable arrangement without jumping into costly and maybe unsuccessful litigation.
if you want to research precedents then have a look at andy warhol’s early career.did he pay campbells or any of the press photogs/agencies whose images he used?

by Michael Bowring | 04 Jul 2006 13:07 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
I suppose it is a matter of an artist requesting permission to use a photograph as a model for a painting. I have a case of an artist from Spain who requested my permission to use one of my photographs (a sunset landscape with very colorful clouds) for one of his paintings. He was to enter the painting in a competition. I say yes and even send him a better version of the photograph. The difference is having the courtesy of asking. As for what kind of legal recourse you have in a case where no permission is requested or granted, I don’t know…
`
Michael, funny you mention Andy Warhol and Campbell Soups… :-) Did anybody paid any attention to what I posted yesterday??? Nobody commented on it…
`
http://www.lightstalkers.org/posts/show/if_you_think_orphan_works_legistation_is_bad

by Luis E. Andrade | 04 Jul 2006 17:07 | Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side, United States | | Report spam→
luis,
maybe i picked up on it subconciously.i never had time to follow your links,but i will now.all this copyrioght/backing us into a corner nonsense is starting to really annoy me,and i am not even american.
so luis,thanks,and keep up the pressure.

by Michael Bowring | 04 Jul 2006 18:07 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
Nina and under european law you would have to secure the case financially, meaning you would have to place a bond of say 10,000 euros into court. This you may not see again if the case failed or you failed to prevail. It totally sucks but your best option is for sure to try and seek some kind of deal with the Artist who may know all of the above before he/she embarked on copying one of your fine photographs.

by Matt Shonfeld | 04 Jul 2006 18:07 | Krakow, Poland | | Report spam→

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Participants

Nina Berman, Photographer Nina Berman
Photographer
New York City , United States
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
I/O
New York , United States
Art Rothfuss I I I, Photographer/Dad Art Rothfuss I I I
Photographer/Dad
(a3photo.com)
Rochester, Ny , United States ( ROC )
Michael Bowring, photographer Michael Bowring
photographer
Belgrade , Serbia
greg mironchuk, Professional Photographer greg mironchuk
Professional Photographer
Boston, Ma , United States
Luis E. Andrade, I shoot and I write Luis E. Andrade
I shoot and I write
Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side , United States
Matt Shonfeld, Artist Management Matt Shonfeld
Artist Management
Home , United Kingdom ( BRI )


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