Art star, Richard Prince, is the subject of a new lawsuit. The suit was filed Dec. 30, 2008 on behalf of plaintiff, ethnographic photographer, Patrick Cariou.  Cariou claims that Prince illegally used his photographs to produce the recent Canal Zone mixed media series. Gagosian Gallery and its owner Larry Gagosian (who exhibited and sold the works), along with book publisher, Rizzoli (responsible for the exhibit catalog), are also named as co-defendants. The images in question first appeared in Cariou’s book, Yes Rasta (published in 2000 by Powerhouse), and were based on a decade of anthropological study conducted in Jamaica.

According to the suit, ”none of the Defendants were ever authorized by Plaintiff to appropriate the Photographs, or reproduce, display, or distribute the Photographs, or to adapt the Photographs in order to create the Paintings or any other derivative work based on the Photographs. Defendant’s conduct was and continues to be in willful disregard of Plaintiff’s rights under the Copyright Act.”

Aside from undisclosed monetary damages, Cariou is claiming the “Defendants be required to deliver up on oath for impounding, destruction, or other disposition, as Plaintiff determines, all infringing copies of the Photographs, including the Paintings, any unsold copies of the Canal Zone Exhibition book, in their possession,” and be required to current owners of the paintings that they “were not lawfully made under the Copyright Cct of 1976 and that the Paintings cannot be lawfully displayed.”

See a copy the full suite here.

Thanks to the Art Collectors for the complete story.