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Can You Commit Copyright Infringement By Using Your Own Work?

Mrs. Grundy writes: Notorious appropriation artist Richard Prince has been in the news again with his show consisting of screen shots of other people’s Instagram photos printed as large inkjets on canvas. These prints have reportedly sold for $90,000. In 2013 Prince successfully defeated a lawsuit for a previous appropriation by convincing the court his work was ‘transformative’ and it’s likely this new work would also find a sympathetic ear in the court. Among the photographs whose work he used this time were several from the Suicide Girls Instagram feed. In response, Selena Mooney, cofounder of Suicide Girls, began offering exact replicas of Prince’s pieces that used her photographs for a mere $90. Photographer Mark Meyer looks at the bizarre possibility that if Prince’s use of Mooney’s work is transformative and fair, Mooney’s might be copyright infringement.


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