August 24th, 2012 — 12:15pm
In Estate of Sonnabend, a golden eagle creates some major complications
Estate of Ileana Sonnabend, now pending in the U.S. Tax Court, Docket No. 000649-12, presents a peculiar valuation issue, with the Internal Revenue Service taking an even more peculiar position in asserting that federal estate tax was due for artwork that couldn’t legally be sold.
The decedent was a leading art dealer, who left an inventory of post WWII art by modern masters, such as Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, with a reported value upwards of $1 billion. Her heirs dutifully sold numerous works, raising $471 million to pay federal and state estate taxes. Continue reading »
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August 21st, 2012 — 4:40pm
Syfy’s new reality show Dream Machines was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit one week before its series premiere. According to the artist plaintiff, the series infringes the copyright in his artwork.
Plaintiff Preston Asevedo is a professional artist and illustrator who, in 2005, allegedly conceived of and created a two-dimensional copyrighted artwork entitled “Comedy Tragedy Skulls.” (Imagine traditional comedy and tragedy masks possessed by Satan.) Recently, defendant Parker Brothers, owners of defendant Parker Brothers Concepts, became the subject of a reality television show called Dream Machines airing on NBC Universal’s Syfy network. Dream Machines revolves around the Parker Brothers defendants and their crew as they take vehicles seen in film, TV and comic books and turn them into real one-of-a-kind dream machines.
According to the complaint, the Parker Brothers defendants unlawfully used Asevedo’s “Comedy Tragedy Skulls” on, inter alia, their store’s sign (which is featured on Dream Machines), as well as on t-shirts worn by the Parker Brothers during filming and on the “dream machines” themselves. Here is a side-by-side comparison from the complaint:
Continue reading »
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August 1st, 2012 — 6:15pm
On Sunday July 22, Penn State University removed the famed bronze statue of Joe Paterno, which was located outside its football stadium, one day before the NCAA announced a slate of severe sanctions against the university arising from its role in the Sandusky child molestation scandal. A few days later, news reports emerged that sculptor Larry Nowlan suggested the statue be melted down and recycled into a “healing memorial” for victims of child abuse. While this proposal may have both spiritual and artistic merit, there is one problem: Nowlan is not the sculptor who created the Paterno statue. That distinction belongs to Angelo Di Maria who created the clay model for the statue from a photograph he took of Paterno at a football game, as well as artists Wilfer Buitrago and Yesid Gomez who worked with Di Maria to construct the final bronze statue. Continue reading »
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