Art

Through the Looking Glass: Photography and the Idea/Expression Dichotomy

Through the Looking Glass: Photography and the Idea/Expression Dichotomy
Download a pdf version of this article here. Copyright law has always expressed an idea/expression dichotomy, where copyright protection extends not to an idea of a work but only to work’s expression of that idea. Alas, this distinction walks a fine line with regard to non-textual and visual works. In particular, courts are prone to inconsistent outcomes and a violation of the fundamental precepts of copyright law because courts often succumb to shortcomings in grasping aesthetic theories of originality, realism, and ideas idiosyncratic to visual works. However, this dilemma may be solved within the existing framework of copyright law. This note argues that the solution should start by focusing less on visual works’ subject matter, but rather elements of the work, such as the originality and realism of the expression that clarify the author’s creativity. Moreover, the concept of an “idea” should be defined broadly as the residual locus of uncopyrightable elements in a work, rather than a cohesive concept that attempts to definitively pin down the “idea” behind that individual work. Taking this two-pronged solution would thus both recognize visual and photographic work’s unique niche within copyright as well as align these forms of art with copyright’s law’s ultimate objective of authorship protection.

Un-Blurring Substantial Similarity: Aesthetic Judgments and Romantic Authorship in Music Copyright Law

Un-Blurring Substantial Similarity: Aesthetic Judgments and Romantic Authorship in Music Copyright Law
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By Nicole Lieberman*

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How Rings Fit into the Copyright Scheme: Assessing Their Intrinsic Utilitarian Function

How Rings Fit into the Copyright Scheme: Assessing Their Intrinsic Utilitarian Function
By Adine Mitrani* Download a PDF version of this article here. More →

The Interview: John Koegel & Barton Beebe

The Interview: John Koegel & Barton Beebe

The Interview:

John Koegel & Barton Beebe

Download a PDF version of this interview here. John Koegel is an attorney and founder of the law firm The Koegel Group LLP. Since 1982 Mr. Koegel has specialized in Art Law, exclusively representing artists, galleries and others involved with visual art in most areas of the law. Mr. Koegel attended Fordham Law School and initially joined the law firm Rogers & Wells. After a two-year appointment as counsel to a national commission appointed by President Carter, Mr. Koegel served as General Counsel and Secretary at the Museum of Modern Art. Over the years Mr. Koegel has been actively involved in the development of intellectual property rights including the drafting of the Visual Arts Rights Act of 1990 and representing Jeff Koons in the landmark fair use cases Rogers v. Koons and Blanch v. Koons. Barton Beebe is the John M. Desmarais Professor of Intellectual Property Law at NYU School of Law. More →