3 Count: Frankenstein Guitar

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1: The Met Wins a Case Against a Photographer Who Claims It Posted His Image of Eddie Van Halen Online Without Permission

First off today, Taylor Dafoe at Artnet News reports that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision in ruling that the Metropolitan Museum of Art did not infringe upon a photographer’s work by publishing an image he took online.

The lawsuit was brought by photographer Lawrence Marano, who sued the Met in 2019 after the museum featured a photo he took of Eddie Van Halen as part of an online catalog for an exhibition that would feature the rocker’s guitar. However, the lower court ruled against Marano, finding that the use of the image was a fair use as it was for educational purposes.

Marano appealed that ruling to the Second Circuit, which has now upheld that lower court decision. In addition to ruling the use a fair use, the court claimed that there was no way the use could impact the commercial market for his photo.

2: Illustrious Romanian Sculptor’s Heir Faces Challenge Over Copyright ‘Censorship’

Next up today, Marcel Gascón Barberá at BalkanInsight reports that, in Romania, a copyright battle has broken out over the work of sculptor Constantin Brâncuși as government officials seek the right to make and sell souvenirs based on his previous work.

Brâncuși was born in Romania but became a naturalized French citizen in 1952, five years before his death. However, the Romanian municipality of Targu Jiu has been seeking the right to sell souvenirs of his iconic sculptures and distribute leaflets about his work, things that his heirs and rights societies that represent them have steadfastly refused.

To counter this, the government is trying a novel approach and arguing that his work is in the public domain. Though work normally lapses 70 years after the creator’s death, that only became the law in Romania in 1996. Instead, they are arguing that the law should be applied as it was in 1957, when Brâncuși died. That would grant only a 15 year copyright period following his death and mean that the works actually became public domain in 1973. The heirs, as well as local arts societies, oppose this interpretation.

3: Lawsuit Alleges Song’s Copyright Infringement

Finally today, Guy Vogrin at The Vindicator reports that members of the gospel group The Nevels Sisters have filed a lawsuit against musicians Dawn Richard and Derek Scott Bergheimer alleging that they used parts of a 1990 song in their 2019 work entitled Sauce.

According to the lawsuit, in April 1990 they created the song Abundance of Rain and released it as part of their album Now is the Time to Seek the Lord. They claim that the defendants then took elements of that song and used it in Sauce, which was released in 2019 as part of the album New Breed.

The lawsuit asks for damages of $150,000 for each instance Sauce has been displayed to the public plus other damages and profits from the song.

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