Above: Plaintiff Chuck Close. __________________ The Ninth Circuit recently issued its decision regarding the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (“CRRA”) in three consolidated appeals: Close v. Sotheby’s, Inc., No. 16-56234, The Sam Francis Foundation v. Christie’s, Inc., No. 16-56235 and The Sam Francis Foundation v. eBay Inc., No. 16-56252. 2018 WL 3322222 (9th Cir. July 6, 2018). As previously discussed on this blog, the CRRA provides that an artist may recover a…
On June 13, 2018, Judge Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York issued an impassioned decision upholding the $6.75 million damage award he granted the aerosol artists of 5Pointz in February 2018. The court denied the defendants’ post-trial motion to grant a new trial or vacate the February 2018 judgment under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59(a)[1] and 52(b).[2] As discussed previously on this blog, this case arose from defendant…
In its April 5, 2018 decision in Reif v. Nagy (Index No. 161799/15), the Commercial Division of New York State Supreme Court ordered two pieces of alleged Nazi-looted art turned over to relatives of their original Jewish owner, Fritz Grunbaum.[1] In a surprise ruling, the Court’s holding came in direct opposition to that reached by the Southern District of New York in a 2011 decision (affirmed by the Second Circuit in 2012)…
On February 12, Judge Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York awarded $6.75 million in statutory damages to the aerosol artists of “5Pointz,” agreeing with the jury’s advisory finding that property developer Jerry Wolkoff violated those artists’ “right of integrity” under the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”). As previously covered on this blog, VARA’s right of integrity grants a visual artist the right to prevent the destruction of her work of art so…
On October 27, 2017, the New York Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA hosted a panel exploring the history, caselaw and policies underlying the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”).[1]  The panel featured Amy Adler, Emily Kempin Professor of Law at New York University School of Law; Irina Tarsis, Founder and Director of the Center for Art Law; and Daniel H. Weiner, Partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.  Barry
“5Pointz” Jury Returns Advisory Verdict in Favor of Graffiti Artists. A six-member jury has returned an advisory verdict finding that a property developer violated more than twenty graffiti artists’ “right of integrity” under the Visual Artists Rights Act (“VARA”) when it whitewashed a building bearing nearly fifty of those artists’ works. As covered previously on this blog, the artist plaintiffs filed suit under VARA in 2013, seeking to enjoin developer Wolkoff’s demolition of that…
Above: Plaintiff Chuck Close. __________________ The Ninth Circuit has pending before it for the second time a significant challenge to the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (“CRRA”) stemming from three related cases: Sam Francis Foundation v. Christie’s, Inc., Case No. 16-56235 (9th Cir. notice of appeal filed Aug. 26, 2016); Chuck Close v. Sotheby’s, Inc., Case No. 16-56234 (9th Cir. notice of appeal filed Aug. 26, 2016); and Sam Francis Foundation v. eBay…
On July 11, 2017, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP hosted a brown-bag lunch on the business and law of auction houses.  The Fine Arts Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section sponsored the event. The lunch’s panel included Sherri Cohen, Director of Trusts and Estates at Bonhams; Margaret J. Hoag, Vice President & Senior Counsel at Christie’s; Jonathan Illari, General Counsel, Americas at Phillips; Daniel H. Weiner, Partner…
Two recent developments promise to shed more light on the legal status of unauthorized street art, which we explored earlier this year in our post Unchartered Territory: Enforcing an Artist’s Rights in Street Art. Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 13CV05612, 2017 WL 1208416 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2017). As discussed in our earlier post, in November 2013, Judge Block of the Eastern District of New York declined to issue a preliminary injunction under VARA…
The short answer is yes.1 Nonprofit organizations with tax-exempt status should not lose that status if, in furtherance of their exempt purpose, they speak out about issues affecting their constituents and the communities they serve.  While nonprofit organizations are absolutely barred from political campaigning, if the actions fall under their stated mission they can (i) criticize or praise sitting public officials, (ii) take a position on political issues, and (iii) take a position on…