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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:

Yale University v. Konowaloff, (2nd Cir. Oct. 20, 2015) aff'ing 5 F.Supp.3d 237 (2014) -- The Court of Appeals upheld the 2014 ruling to dismiss the claim by a French citizen, Pierre Konowaloff, against Yale University challenging ownership rights in Van Gogh's "The Night Cafe." The artwork in dispute belonged to Konowaloff's great-grandfather, Ivan Morozov, whose art collection was nationalized by the Soviet authorities following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. At least two work from the Morozov collection had been sold to American collectors in the 1930s.

Authors Guild v. Google Inc., 13-4829-cv (2nd Cir. Oct. 16, 2015) aff'ing 770 F. Supp. 2d 666 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) -- Circuit Judges, including Pierre N. Leval, who coined the term "transformative use" in 1990, ruled that the Google book scanning project was permissible under the fair use exception to the 17 U.S.C. Copyright Law. Court held that the Google Book project does not serve as a market substitute to the original works. On the contrary, it augments public knowledge about Plaintiff's books without providing the public with a substantial substitute for matter protected under the law.

Crawford v. Weider Health and Fitness, 2015 WL 6447396 (NY Sup. Oct. 22, 2015) - Gray Crawford, former owner of the defunct Kundus Gallery in San Francisco, has filed suit in New York Supreme Court for the return of a 500+ year old Buddha statue. Crawford alleges that he bought the piece from a London dealer in 1975 for $10,000 and had it stolen from him in 1983. He was unable to find the Buddha until August when it appeared in the highlights of an upcoming Sotheby's auction. Sotheby's agreed to pull the work from the auction but returned it to Weider Health and Fitness, a California-based company who claims ownership of the work and consigned it to Sotheby's for sale.

U.S. v. Brugnara, 2015 WL 5915567 (N.D. Cal. 2015) -- Real estate mogul Luke Brugnara was sentenced to seven years in federal prison following May convictions of wire and mail fraud, escape, contempt and making false statements in court. Brugnara, who represented himself at trial, never paid an art dealer for a bronze Edgar Degas sculpture shipped to him in 2014, claiming both that it was a gift and that it was stolen by the deliverymen. Brugnara's post-trial attorney argued that he was never competent to stand trial because of untreated bipolar disorder, delusions and narcissism. The court denied the request for a competency hearing and reasoned that he would probably not submit to a court ordered treatment plan anyway.


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 December 2, 2015 11:31 AM.

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