Just days after Richard Prince triumphantly won his copyright lawsuit, just when we supposedly established that “law does not require that a new work of art comment on any of its source material to qualify as fair use” — today, appropriation rights take a step back. A California judge has ruled that Mr. Brainwash was, in fact, breaking copyright when he appropriated a famous 1977 black and white photograph of Sid Vicious by Dennis Morris.
After surveying Mr. Brainwash’s art, the judge says “most of [the] defendant’s works add certain new elements, but the overall effect of each is not transformative.” Try harder, Brainwash. You’re not using enough decorative fuchsia splatter. How about a little mole doodle or something?