“Stay safe out there, anything too good to be true is a … scam.” Beeple, a popular digital artist, tweeted to his followers, addressing the phishing scam that took place on May 23, 2022, targeting his Twitter account. The attack reportedly resulted in a loss of more than US$400,000 in cryptocurrency and NFTs, stolen from the artist’s followers on the social media website.

After hacking into Beeple’s Twitter account, perpetrators tweeted links from the artist’s page, promoting a fake raffle for unique art pieces. The links would reportedly take the user to a website that would drain the user’s cryptocurrency wallet of their digital assets.  Continue Reading Hackers Go Phishing in Beeple’s Deep Pool of Twitter Followers

Jeff Koons Defends Copyright Infringement of a Sculptural Work, Claiming “Useful Article” Defense and Fair Use
In 2021, set designer Michael Hayden sued appropriation artist Jeff Koons for copyright infringement arising out of Koons’s use of Hayden’s 1988 sculpture in a 1989 series of artworks titled Made in Heaven. The original sculpture, depicting a serpent wrapped around a rock, was created as a stage prop for adult film star Ilona Staller (former wife of Koons). The infringing works depict Koons and Staller atop the snake sculpture in explicit poses. Hayden claims Koons never asked permission to use the snake sculpture, did not offer to credit him and never applied for a license, and that he was unaware of the claimed infringement until 2019.

Continue Reading U.S. Copyright Office Weighs in on AI-Created Art, Jeff Koons Claims a Sculpture Is a Useful Article and Other Stories

Street artist Alessia Babrow has sued the Vatican, alleging that the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State copied her artwork without her permission and reprinted it as a stamp. The art was a painting of Jesus by nineteenth-century artist Heinrich Hofmann, to which Ms. Babrow had added the slogan “just use it.” Besides neglecting to request Ms. Babrow’s permission, the Vatican allegedly only credited Hofmann, and not Ms. Babrow, for the derivative work. Ms. Babrow is seeking approximately $160,000 in damages and reportedly turned down a private visit with the Pope in favor of continuing her lawsuit. Continue Reading The Vatican Faces a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

UNITED STATES

Frieze Art Fair Reopens for In-Person Attendance
The Frieze Art Fair, relocated from Randall’s Island to the Shed in Manhattan, was praised by participants and attendees for its seamless install and organization, with timed entry allowing galleries and guests more time to connect. Continue Reading First In-Person Art Fair in a Year and Other Headlines

SCOTUS Sets Precedent on the Expropriation Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Ruling that Germany Cannot Be Sued in the United States for Taking Property from Its Own Citizens  

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Jewish heirs of German art dealers, who in 1935 sold gilded German reliquaries dating back to the 11th to 15th centuries (known as the Guelph Treasure) to the Nazi-controlled Prussian government. The heirs sued Germany in the United States, arguing that the sale was a “genocidal taking” under duress and seeking restitution of the reliquaries. Germany unsuccessfully argued before the district court and a federal appeals court that this case should be dismissed on the grounds that U.S. courts cannot hear lawsuits against foreign governments and their agencies. Continue Reading SCOTUS Sets Precedent on the Expropriation Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in the Guelph Treasure Case, and Other Stories

UNITED STATES

U.S. Supreme Courts Declines Certiorari in the 5Pointz Case
Two years ago, in one of the most important decisions applying the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) since its adoption, New York’s Eastern District awarded $6.75 million in statutory damages to 21 street artists whose aerosol works were intentionally destroyed by the owner of the buildings on which they were painted. VARA gives artists the right to sue to prevent the destruction of a work of “recognized stature,” and to recover money damages if their work is distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified to the prejudice of the artist’s honor or reputation. Continue Reading 5Pointz Artists Claim Final Victory as SCOTUS Denies Cert & Other Headlines

UNITED STATES

Two New York Antiquities Dealers Arrested for Allegedly Fabricating Provenance Documents
Two owners of a Manhattan-based antiquities gallery were arrested in connection with their suspected complicity in an alleged fraud scheme to swindle buyers with the use of fake provenance documents. Continue Reading Brooklyn Museum Deaccessioning Artworks, Banksy Loses Trademark Battle and Other Stories

UNITED STATES

U.S. Senate Subcommittee’s Report Recommends Art Market Regulations
As part of its investigation into the effectiveness of sanctions against foreign persons and entities, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the United States Senate issued a report focused on lack of regulation and pervasive secrecy in the art market. Continue Reading U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations Recommends Regulation of the Art Market & Other Headlines

NORTH AMERICA

Disgraced Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges
A New York grand jury has indicted art dealer Inigo Philbrick on federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft; Philbrick has entered a plea of not guilty. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District claims that Philbrick defrauded multiple people and businesses in New York between 2016 and 2019 to finance his art business, access valuable art, and obtain sales proceeds, funding and loans. Philbrick also misrepresented the ownership of certain artworks by selling more than 100 percent ownership to multiple individuals and entities without their knowledge. Continue Reading Disgraced Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges & Other Stories

Paris Dealer Charged with Fraud and Money Laundering in Sale of Golden Sarcophagus to the Met
French art dealer and Mediterranean archeology expert Christophe Kunicki was charged with fraud and money laundering in Paris following an investigation that began after the sale of a golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum for €3.5 million in 2017. Continue Reading Paris Dealer Who Sold Golden Sarcophagus to the Met Charged with Money Laundering & Other Stories