Intellectual Property Law

New Matter FALL 2020, Volume 45, Number 3

Copyright News

Jo Ardalan


The Second Circuit Affirms Spray Paint Artists’ $6.75 Million Statutory Damages Award Against Real Estate Developer for Violating the Visual Artists Rights Act

Real Estate Developer Gerald Wolkoff enlisted Jonathan Cohen to turn his dilapidated warehouses into an extraordinary exhibition space for aerosol arts.1,2 Cohen and other artists rented studio space. Cohen then curated the artists’ works and turned Wolkoff’s warehouses into a "major global center for aerosol art."3 The property, then known as 5Pointz, attracted thousands of visitors daily as well as celebrities and media coverage.4 Each wall was filled with aerosol art. Some works had a "short lifespan" and were painted over repeatedly, while others were longstanding works. Significantly, Cohen had a system to determine whether a work could be overpainted that required his consent and usually that of the artist as well. 5

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