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Firm Wins Dismissal of Copyright Suit Against Celebrated Artist Relating to Duct-Taped Banana Work

The Firm’s longtime client celebrated artist Maurizio Cattelan introduced his artwork Comedian to great fanfare at the 2019 Miami Basel international art fair. Comedian is essentially a real banana duct-taped to a wall. The work was subsequently sold in a limited edition and resides in several private collections as well as at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  In 2020, Joe Morford sued Catttelan in federal court in Florida, claiming that Comedian infringed Morford’s copyright to his Banana and Orange work.   On June 12, 2023, Judge Scola of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in an 18 page decision granted the Firm’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the case in its entirety. In doing so, the Court accepted all of Cattelan’s arguments for dismissal, namely that there had been no access to Morford’s work as required by law, the two works were not substantially similar as to any protectible elements, and that Cattelan had independently created Comedian.  Firm attorneys Adam Cohen and Dana Susman worked on the case.