Jeff Koons Found Guilty of Copying a Naf Naf Ad

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In January 2015, Franck Davidovici sued Koons for copyright infringement after seeing the artist’s sculpture ‘Fait d’hiver’ in a catalogue for his exhibition at the Pompidou Center. The piece was an (almost) exact copy of Davidovici’s work created for the clothing brand Naf Naf in 1985.

You can find a comparison of the two works here.

The case was dismissed. However, four years later the French courts decided to re-open this claim and last month Koons was found guilty of plagiarism. The defence argued that the artist’s work was a parody and he had a right to artistic expression. However, Jeff Koons LLC together with the Pompidou Center and a publisher were ordered to pay Davidovici $170,000 for copyright infringement and in damages. This is a small price to pay compared to the $4 million for which Koons’ sculpture was sold in 2007.

Koons has been party to a number of similar law suits, usually for infringing copyright. In 2010 however he was on the other side of a case when his legal team sent cease and desist letters to two companies making bookends that very closely resembled like his renound ‘Balloon Dog’ sculptures.

This begged the question, does Jeff Koons own the rights to all balloon dogs?