Sculptor Beats Billionaire in Court
Congratulations to American sculptor John Raimondi who recently won a court battle against a Russian billionaire who had knock-offs of two of his sculptures made.
Igor Olenicoff is rich, but also dishonest on so many levels. He actually contacted the sculptor about purchasing the sculptures. He was then provided with photos and sketches, which he promptly took to China to have the knock-offs created.
While the jury awarded the sculptor a “fair fee” based on the value of the works, $640,000 is such a small drop in the bucket for this billionaire that it seems unlikely it will deter him in the future.
Artist John Raimondi sued Russian-born real estate developer Igor Olenicoff after being tipped off about the copies of two of his sculptures, “Dian” and “Ceres,” which were on display in Orange County, Calif.
Mr. Olenicoff admitted to copyright infringement but filed a motion in January claiming there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s $640,000 verdict. But U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford rejected the motion last week, citing a rule in the Ninth Circuit that states “actual damages are usually determined by the loss in the fair market value of the copyright, measured by the profits lost due to the infringement or by the value of the use of the copyrighted work to the infringer.”
Mr. Olenicoff is worth approximately $3.6 billion, and was listed at number 481 by Forbes on their list of the 500 wealthiest people in the world. In 2007 he plead guilty to felony tax charges after hiding more than $350 million from the IRS in offshore accounts in Switzerland.
Supporting artists means buying their works, not stealing from them.
Thanks to Catherine Rafter of the Observer for this story, which you can read in entirety here
Photo of “Dian” by John Raimondi from artist’s website