NY lawsuit over photo of Orthodox Jew dismissed

February 14, 2006 03:31

A judge has dismissed an Orthodox Jew's lawsuit, finding that a photograph taken of him on a street and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars (euros) is art - not commerce - and therefore is protected by the US constitution's protection of free speech. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Judith J. Gische ruled that the photo of Emo Nussenzweig - a head shot showing him with white beard, a black hat and a black coat - is art even though the photographer took it surreptitiously near New York's Times Square in 2001 and then sold 10 prints of it at $20,000 to $30,000 each. Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photographic show "Heads" was at the Pace Gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea area in September and October 2001, featuring shots of 17 people photographed without their knowledge in New York, Tokyo, Calcutta and Mexico City. The displayed photo of the 80-year-old Nussenzweig was about 3 feet (0.9 meters) by 4 feet (1.2 meters).

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