A miami the federal judge ruled this week in favor of the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelanwho, for a few weeks in 2019, was talked about in the art world after his work Actor, a banana taped to a wall, sold to Art Basel Miami Beach for $120,000.
Joe Morford, an artist who claims to have pioneered the act of tapping fruit on walls in 2000, sued Cattelan, saying Cattelan based his work on his artwork. Orange and Bananain which plastic versions of these fruits were attached to panels on a wall with tape.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola decision says there was insufficient evidence that Cattelan had seen the composition of Morford’s fruit. Anyway, the concept shared by the works, “fixing a banana on a vertical plane using adhesive tape”, is not protected by copyright law, according to Judge Scola .
Judge Scola noted the significant differences between the works, especially “the angle at which (the banana was) placed” and “the exacting standards that Cattelan developed for Actoris displayed.
“Finding otherwise would further limit the already limited number of ways a banana can be legally stuck to a wall without infringing Morford’s work,” Scola said of his decision.
Scola’s decision came weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Andy Warhol Prince Series violated copyright owned by photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who took the image on which the Warhol’s Prince serigraph was based.
The Supreme Court’s decision casts a dark cloud over the doctrine of “fair use,” which many artists who have appropriated images in their work have frequently relied on.