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


"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.