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Center for Art Law Case Updates


The following case selection first appeared in this week's Center for Art Law newsletter:

William Roger Dean v. James Cameron et al. (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 17, 2014) -- J. Furman granted a motion to dismiss a copyright suit brought by artist William Roger Dean, ruling in favor of Hollywood defendants. Plaintiff claimed that the defendants, through their work on the blockbuster 2009 feature film Avatar, infringed on his copyright to 14 of his original works. The court noted that within the meaning of copyright law, using "good eyes and common sense," and considering the work as a whole, no substantial similarity exists between Avatar and the protectable elements of Dean's copyrighted works.

U.S. v. Twenty-Nine Pre-Columbian and Colonial Artifacts From Peru (S.D.Fla., Sept. 11, 2014) -- Last September, defendant, Peruvian national Jean Combe Fritz, filed a motion to dismiss US government's forfeiture of cultural property claims on the grounds that i) the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, ii) Fritz was denied due process, and iii) plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action. A year later, on September 11, 2014, J. Lenard of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, denied the motion noting that none of the three grounds were merited.

Franco Fasoli (A.K.A. "Jaz") v. Voltage Pictures, LLC, 1:14-cv-06206 (N.D.Il. 2014) -- Plaintiff visual artists "Jaz," "Ever," and "Other" filed a copyright infringement claim alleging that multiple identified and unidentified Hollywood defendants blatantly misappropriated the artist's collaborative mural, protected under Argentina's copyright law, by creating an "infringing work" on the set of the now released film The Zero Theorem, which was filmed in Romania in 2012. Plaintiffs seek relief in the form of a preliminary and permanent injunction, impoundment and disposition of infringing articles, an order of accounting of gains and profits, and monetary damages. Plaintiffs are represented by Foley & Lardner LLP.

Estate of James A. Elkins v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (5th Cir., Sept. 15, 2014) -- The Estate of James A. Elkins brought legal action against the Commissioner of Internal Revenue after the IRS refused to allow any discount against the Decedent's fractional ownership interest in 64 pieces of art work which he co-owned with his three adult children. Three expert witnesses for the Estate testified that application of the "willing buyer/willing seller" test would produce prices for the Decedent's undivided interests that would be substantially lower than the fair market value of his pro-rata shares, and thus a buyer would expect a fractional-ownership discount which should be considered in assessing value for tax purposes. In 2013, the Tax Court agreed that some discount should apply, and proposed it to be 10%. On 15 September, 2014, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the finding that a discount should apply to the fractional ownership interests, but rejected the baseless 10% discount applied by the Tax Court in favor of the higher discount percentages provided by the Estate.

Marguerite Hoffman vs. L&M Arts, et. al, 3:10-CV-0953-D (N.D. Tex 2014) -- When Marguerite Hoffman quietly sold her Rothko she 'bargained for confidentiality' because the painting was promised to the Dallas Museum of Art. Shortly thereafter the painting turned up for a public auction and Hoffman sued the dealer and the subsequent buyer for not keeping her sale secret, per terms of the sales agreement. (http://frontburner.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Order-Dismissing-Claim-Against-DM-SC-With-Prejudice.pdf?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=f2a104a2e9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-f2a104a2e9-346773625) On 4 September 2014, Texas district court dismissed Hoffman's claim against the buyer and ruled that she can only recover benefit-of-the bargain damages from the seller. https://casetext.com/case/hoffman-v-l-m-arts?utm_source=Center%20for%20Art%20Law%20General%20List&utm_campaign=f2a104a2e9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-f2a104a2e9-346773625


The Center for Art Law strives to create a coherent community for all those interested in law and the arts. Positioned as a centralized resource for art and cultural heritage law, it serves as a portal to connect artists and students, academics and legal practitioners, collectors and dealers, government officials and others in the field. In addition to the weekly newsletter (http://cardozo.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=78692bfa901c588ea1fe5e801&id=022731d685), the Center for Art Law subscribers receive updates about art and law-related topics through its popular art law blog (http://itsartlaw.com/blog/)and calendar of events (http://itsartlaw.com/events/). The Center for Art Law welcomes inquiries and announcements from firms, universities and student organizations about recent publications, pending cases, upcoming events, current research and job and externship opportunities. To contact the Center for Art Law, visit our website at: www.itsartlaw.com or write to itsartlaw@gmail.com.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 8, 2014 5:16 PM.

The previous post in this blog was A CALIFORNIA FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT'S DECISION IN A CASE AGAINST SIRIUS XM HAS BROADER IMPLICATIONS THAN JUST WHETHER INTERNET RADIO AND SATELLITE SERVICES MUST PAY FOR PRE-1972 SOUND RECORDINGS .

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