Maurizio Cattelan Hits Again in Banana Copyright Lawsuit, Claiming He is By no means Seen the Different Man’s Artwork

Artist Maurizio Cattelan vigorously denied copying one other artist’s work within the making of his viral sculpture, Comic, which contains a banana duct-taped to a wall. In reality, his attorneys declare in a brand new authorized submitting, he was totally unaware the opposite work existed. 

Cattelan’s response marks the newest improvement in a sometimes-surreal authorized battle in Miami over the sculpture’s originality. Miami-based artist Joe Morford accused the Italian artist of infringing the copyright of his personal work, Banana & Orange, a vertical diptych of an orange and banana hooked up onto inexperienced panels with grey duct-tape. Morford says he registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Workplace in 2000. 

In June, U.S. District Choose Robert N. Scola, Jr., rejected Cattelan’s movement to dismiss the case, concluding that at this stage Morford had “adequately alleged that Cattelan’s Comic has a considerable similarity to […] parts of Banana & Orange.”

Now, Cattelan’s staff is pushing again. Responding to Morford’s claims, the artist’s attorneys submitted a doc outlining no fewer than 19 “affirmative protection” arguments. (The temporary was submitted by Florida litigation lawyer Julie E. Nevins at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLC on behalf of Cattelan’s New York attorneys, Adam Cohen and Dana Susman, from Kane Kessler.) 

Cattelan denies realizing about Banana & Orange earlier than making Comic, which was introduced by Perrotin to a lot fanfare and derision at Artwork Basel Miami Seashore in 2019. The doc states that Cattelan “independently created his work, Comic, with out information of or reference to Plaintiff’s work, Banana & Orange.” In accordance with courtroom papers, three copies of Comic bought, in addition to two proofs, for a complete of greater than $390,000.

A side-by-side comparison of Morford's and Cattelan's works. Photo via court documents.

A side-by-side comparability of Morford’s and Cattelan’s works. Picture through courtroom paperwork.

The Italian artist additionally refutes Morford’s allegation that Cattelan may have found his work on-line. Cattelan says that Morford’s claims for copyright infringement ought to fail as a result of Morford “can’t set up that Defendant [Cattelan] had the requisite entry to Plaintiff’s work, Banana & Orange, earlier than Defendant created his work, Comic.” 

Cattelan additionally seems to query Mumford’s copyright registration, alleging that he “didn’t register copyright for his work, Banana & Orange, previous to the creation and/or exhibition of Defendant’s work, Comic.”

Moreover, Cattelan contends that Morford’s copyright is invalid because of the subject material: “a helpful article, specifically duct tape, and gadgets showing in nature, specifically oranges and bananas” fail to fulfill the “requisite diploma of originality” required by the U.S. Copyright Act. 

A number of of those factors had been raised by Cattelan in his June movement to dismiss. In his preliminary ruling, Choose Scola disagreed with Cattelan’s “requisite diploma of originality” argument. The choose acknowledged: “Whereas utilizing silver duct tape to affix a banana to a wall might not espouse the very best diploma of creativity, its absurd and farcical nature meets the ‘minimal diploma of creativity’ wanted to qualify as authentic.”

Cattelan additionally claimed that if any infringement of legitimate copyright occurred, it was unintended. “To the extent that Defendant could be liable to Plaintiff for infringement of any legitimate copyright, such infringement was and is harmless and never willful,” the authorized temporary reads. “Defendant, always, acted in good religion.”

Morford is representing himself within the lawsuit. Neither Cattelan’s authorized staff nor Morford instantly responded to a request for remark. 

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