5.28.2015

Testing the Limits of Fair Use and Other Dimensions of Richard Prince's Instagram Controversy

Richard Prince is currently testing the limits of fair use with his new series of photos of Instagram users he is selling for upwards of $90,000 A PIECE! The outrage at the theft has:


I am interested in all of the issues above even though I don't think highly of this particular series of his artistically (he's done more interesting stuff in the past) and know that many of the artists aren't interested in suing him and I doubt highly that his work is allowable under Instagram's terms of service or successfully meets the 4 factors of fair use: (1) purpose and character of use and it's commercial/non-commercial purpose; (2) nature of the copyrighted work; (3) amount and substantiality of portion used; and (4) effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work. 

What I find equally encouraging and discouraging is that while this is an interesting conversation to have, Richard Prince has money to burn and is able to take such a provocative stance because he simply doesn't care and can afford not to care. 

He is an artist looking to stay topical and famous so his work can sell at a high price.
So he made his statement. Both at his expense and others. But only he really benefits in the end.

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