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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:

Bruce Berg v. Kingdom of The Netherlands et al., No. 2:18-cv-3123 (D.S.C. filed on Nov. 11, 2018). In the wake of restitution cases brought against European museums, Bruce Berg, the heir of the Katz brothers who were Dutch partners and collectors, filed a federal suit against the Dutch government to recover paintings allegedly sold or traded under duress to representatives of the Nazi regime between mid-1940 and 1942, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands (https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2018/12/10/federal-lawsuit-seeks-to-recover-art-lost-during-nazi-occupation-of-netherlands/amp/?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Complaint available upon request.

Otto v. Hearst Communications, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-04712 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 10, 2018). A case over a photo misused by several media sources to headline stories about President Trump highlights how Copyright law extends to amateur photographers, such as Jonathan Otto (https://www.law360.com/articles/1110325/-guy-with-iphone-beats-hearst-in-trump-pic-copyright-suit?nl_pk=933b2dbc-00b3-4d5d-9896-14cf322848bb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=special&utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8, http://blog.digitalmedialicensing.org/?p=4678&utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). The Southern District allowed Otto to claim originality in his work, and found that Esquire.com's use of the 2017 photo of Trump at a private wedding in an article about him crashing the wedding was not fair use. Order available upon request.

His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, The Archbishop of Constantinople, Newrome, and Ecumenical Patriarch et al v. Princeton University, No. 3:18-cv-17195 (D.N.J. filed on Dec. 13, 2018). Princeton University's collection includes Byzantine Era Manuscripts that church leaders argued were stolen from a monastery in Greece during World War I (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/arts/design/princeton-eastern-orthodox-church.html?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Evidence put forth by the church leaders includes a Princeton-published book, which states that the manuscripts had been taken by Bulgarian guerrilla forces in 1917. Princeton, meanwhile, remains confident that its provenance research demonstrates that the manuscripts were not looted. Complaint available upon request.

Cenedella v. Metropolitan Museum of Art et al., No. 1:18-cv-01029 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 19, 2018). "Rebel" artist Robert Cenedella's suit against five major New York museums was dismissed for insufficient evidence (https://hyperallergic.com/476464/can-an-outsider-artist-win-his-100-million-lawsuit-against-nycs-five-major-museums/?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-bastard-suit-dismissed-1426297?utm_source=Center%20for%20Art%20Law%20General%20List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8). Cenedalla claimed that the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum were conspiring to exclude him and other deserving artists from their collections and exhibition programs because the artists were not represented by major galleries. Order available upon request.

U.S. v. One Painting Entitled "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina", No. 1:18-cv-03015 (D.D.C. filed on Dec. 20, 2018). The U.S. Attorney filed a notice of forfeiture of an oil painting entitled "Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina" by Russian artist Mikhail N. Panin. The piece had hung on the walls of the Connecticut home of Holocaust survivor Gabby Tracy (https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/national-investigations/Painting-Stolen-From-Nazi-Occupied-Eastern-Europe-Recovered-in-DC-Area-503324421.html?amp=y&utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8); it was sent for auction in 2017, before research revealed that it had been looted from the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum in Ukraine during WWII (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/ivan-the-terrible-painting-sent-for-auction-had-been-looted-during-nazi-occupied-ukraine/2018/12/21/d0a43c68-0546-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html?mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8&noredirect=on&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Center%20for%20Art%20Law%20General%20List&utm_term=.6aaff6739eb2). The government seized the painting right before the auction, which was not contested by the Tracys. The notice filed by the U.S. Attorney ensures that no one else can claim ownership before the FBI returns the painting to Ukraine. Complaint available here: https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Forfeiture-Complaint.pdf?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8.

Viktor v. Top Dawg Entertainment LLC, No. 1:18-cv-01554 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 21, 2018). Artist Lina Iris Viktor claimed rapper Kendrick Lamar appropriated her artwork in a video clip for the "Black Panther" movie soundtrack. The parties announced that they reached a settlement (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/artist-lina-iris-viktor-and-rapper-kendrick-lamar-resolve-black-panther-legal-battle?utm_source=Center+for+Art+Law+General+List&utm_campaign=b82c81de10-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_022731d685-b82c81de10-346773625&mc_cid=b82c81de10&mc_eid=8a2eda70d8).

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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