Database updated March 2008
William F. Patry
Chapter 10. The Fair Use Defense
Appropriation art poses very difficult problems for fair use, including whether it constitutes a comment, criticism, or parody.[FN1] The answer to that question is complicated in the case of appropriation art by its very essence, a conceptual statement, rather than a classic transformative use. Both artists and judges have very different about how appropriation fits into fair use: is it a well-recognized form of artistic expression, or is it piracy? In Rogers v. Koon,[FN2] as Judge Posner and Professor Landes have observed: "From the perspective of copyright law the very term "Appropriation Art" is a provocation; "appropriation" of a copyrighted works connotes stealing."[FN3] If art is in the eye of the beholder, such fair use appropriation art is even more so.
[FN1] See William Landes, Borrowed Images, and Appropriation Art: an Economic Approach, 9 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1 (2000).
[FN2] Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir. 1992).
[FN3] Landes and Posner, The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law, 261 (2003). See also Landes and Posner, The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law at 262-229. It should be noted that this is not Landes and Posner's own view; they believe the Koons case was incorrectly decided.