In Your Opinion Podcast: Does my banana look like your banana? Intellectual property in the art world

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan's piece 'Comedian' (a banana duct taped to the wall) is shown during Art Basel in Miami, Florida, USA, 05 December 2019 (reissued 08 December 2019). PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Series synopsis: The Straits Times takes a hard look at political and social issues of the day with guests.

Three years ago, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan sold a banana duct-taped to a wall for a cool US$120,000 (S$167,000) at Art Basel Miami. But according to American artist Joe Morford, it was plagiarised from his own artwork of a duct-taped orange and banana.

Did Morford sufficiently prove that Cattelan’s banana infringed his banana? 

And will a legal victory for Morford against Cattelan embolden others to proceed with similar legal actions against literally hundreds of thousands of “copycat” images found on every corner of the Internet?

Here to make sure no one goes bananas is Mr Ryan Su, an art and intellectual property lawyer at OC Queen Street LLC, who had personally seen the infamous banana at Art Basel Miami in 2019.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:20 Ryan describes his personal experience of seeing the banana artwork at Art Basel Miami

6:47 How does one determine if copyright infringement has taken place?

8:58 Different kinds of copying

10:50 How difficult it is to prove that one has previously seen and copied an artwork

15:50 What lessons the rest of the art world can draw from this case

Read the article here:

Produced by: Grace Ho (, Ernest Luis and Hadyu Rahim

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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