"Who Owns This Image?" by Ben Mauk in The New Yorker

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"Cases like Prince’s and Fairey’s frighten potential “fair users” in part because they present an image of copyright law that is capricious; rulings may seem to hang on a judge’s gut feelings. But the alternative—permissions culture—has its Kafkaesque moments, too. The College Art Association report described one museum worker who was frustrated by a policy that forced her to buy permission from a licensing organization to reproduce a work of art that was in the museum’s own collection and that it believed was in the public domain. Few institutions can afford to fight a protracted intellectual-property lawsuit. As a result, according to the report, the question of whether to treat an image as fair use is derailed by an exaggerated fear of litigation."

Read the full article here.