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Basquiat v. Baghoomian
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
1992 Copyright L. Dec. ¶ 26,824 (1991)
In 1988 painter Jean-Michel Basquiat died, and his father, Gerard Basquiat (plaintiff), became the administrator of his estate. Vrej Baghoomian (defendant), a gallerist who operated the Vrej Baghoomian Gallery, planned an exhibition of Jean-Michel’s work. To accompany the exhibition, Baghoomian spent approximately $116,000 creating a book containing photographs of the artwork from the exhibition. Included in the book were photographs of 69 paintings and prints that the estate had registered with the United States Copyright Office. Baghoomian produced 4,000 copies of the book and received approximately $59,000 from its sales, with a net loss of about $57,000. Gerard filed a lawsuit in federal district court against Baghoomian, claiming that Baghoomian had committed copyright infringement by including photographs of the copyrighted paintings and prints in the book without receiving permission or paying royalties to Jean-Michel’s estate. Gerard filed a motion for partial summary judgment. To support his motion, Gerard claimed that he and the estate had canceled plans to create a book of Jean-Michel’s work because of Baghoomian’s book. Baghoomian opposed the motion, arguing that the book constituted fair use under copyright law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Freeh, J.)
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