The article presents a mess of conflicting issues.
Jonathan Sobel who brings suit, alleging reduced value: “the complaint alleged that Eggleston diluted the value of Sobel’s collection by printing larger, digital versions of some of his best-known works”
But clearly there is no diminished value: “and then selling them for record prices at Christie’s.”
How can the value of an existing collection be perceived as being diluted when the sales demonstrate the value of the product increased? That itself should dismiss the case.
Sobel’s logic: “For Sobel, who owns 190 Eggleston works, the success of the sale was part of the problem. “The commercial value of art is scarcity, and if you make more of something, it becomes less valuable,” he told ARTINFO last April.”
Clearly the buyers disagreed, as did the judge. Does Sobel have a valid point? The emotion says yes, but the facts and the judge do not agree and accordingly the value is not at issue, I guess, because it did not diminish...
Here is the meat of the issue: “Egggleston may have profited from the Christie’s sale, she concluded, but not at Sobel’s expense. Eggleston could be held liable only if he created new editions of the limited-edition works in Sobel’s collection using the same dye-transfer process he used for the originals — a move that would directly deflate their value. In this case, however, Eggleston was using a new digital process to produce what she deemed a new body of work.
The walk away is that it’s okay to knock off limited edition photographic work, if you do not use the same production method, even if you get essentially the same results. This shows no intent to defraud or deceive anyone but rather only to profit from your work by repackaging it.
The world has changed ever so slightly and the concept of a limited edition has a back door. The 3rd limited edition will be B&W or colorized, depending, of course, on how the 2nd edition was printed.