Collector v. Photographer on Dilution and Creative Rights

On April 3, 2012, a New York collector, Jonathan Sobel, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Mr. Eggleston, a Memphis photographer, alleging “that the artist’s recent decision to print and sell oversized versions of some of his famous images in a Christie’s auction has diluted the rarity—and therefore the resale value—of the originals.”

Apparently Sobel is asking the court for damages and to bar Eggleston from printing additional varieties of his earlier images, a common practice for photographers to monetize the old negatives decades after the photographs have been taken. Typically the earliest printed images remain most valuable. The Wall Street reported that Eggleston’s lawyer position that the lawsuit has “no merit” because the photographer’s new format falls within his creative rights.

 Source: The Wall Street Journal.

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