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Second Circuit: Museum’s Online Exhibit Featuring ‘Frankenstein’ Guitar Photo was Fair Use

On Friday, April 2, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a Summary Order affirming a district court’s finding that the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s use of a photographer’s photo on its website to illustrate a museum exhibit constituted a fair use. The photo was taken by Lawrence Marano in 1982 and depicted Eddie Van Halen playing his iconic “Frankenstein” guitar. The Metropolitan Museum featured the photograph on its website as part of an exhibit of rock n’ roll instruments. Marano initially brought his complaint against the museum in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2019, and the court dismissed it in 2020 for failure to state a claim, “finding that Marano had ‘failed to show why the Met’s use of [the Photo] is not protected by the fair use exception.’”

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