Fashion, NFTs, and Artistic Expression

Katie and Steve talk to attorney Emily Poler, founder of Poler Legal, about the recent lawsuit between the iconic French fashion house Hermès and an NFT creator, Mason Rothschild, over Rothschild’s “MetaBirkin” NFTs. Hermès claimed that Rothschild infringed Hermès’ trademark in the name “Birkin.” Hermès prevailed on this claim (and others) in a jury trial earlier this year. Katie, Steve, and Emily discuss the contours of this lawsuit and the reach of trademark law to police fashion brands, copyright’s limitations, and trademark law’s applicability to artistic expression, especially in the context of NFTs.

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The Promise of NFTs for Artists and the Art Market

Steve and Katie speak with Amy Whitaker about her new book with Nora Burnett Abrams The Story of NFTs: Artists, Technology and Democracy. Amy describes her vision for the promise of NFTs for artists and a more equitable art market and discusses the democratic incentives NFTs create in this world. They discuss NFTs in the context of the current moment of uncertainty around the future of cryptocurrency, the blockchain, and the value of NFTs in general and the potential problems and limitations of NFTs within the fine art ecosystem.

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The 60+ Year Journey of a Stolen Pissarro Painting and Who Gets to Keep It

Steve and Katie speak with appellate litigator David Barrett about the story animating a recent Supreme Court case between the heirs of Lilly Cassirer, who fled Germany in 1939 after surrendering the painting Rue Saint-Honoré Après-midi, Effet de Pluie (Rue Saint-Honoré in the Afternoon, Effect of Rain) by Camille Pissarro to the Nazis, and the Spanish Museum known as the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. They discuss the journey of the painting in and out of the United States over a 60-plus-year period before it found its way into the collection of a Spanish museum, the Cassirer family’s efforts to find and reclaim the painting, and the decades-long litigation in California that led to the recent Supreme Court decision overturning a decision of the 9th Circuit applying the Spanish law of adverse possession in favor of the Spanish Museum. Read more