Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NASCAR Victory Lap

The Third Circuit has has affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for NASCAR in a lawsuit brought by the artist who designed the Nextel Cup trophy. The Philadelphia Business Journal had a good story on the background that led to the suit back in November 2004.

Bill Patry calls attention to the Third Circuit's (very brief) discussion of the Visual Artists Rights Act, ending in a holding that what the artist created here were "technical drawings, diagrams, or models," which are expressly excluded from VARA protection.

Also of interest is the Court's adoption of NASCAR's "implied license" theory -- that because the artist "created the trophy images with the intent that they would be used and displayed by NASCAR," an implied license existed as a matter of law.

You can see a picture of the trophy here.

The decision is National Association for Stock Car Racing, Inc. v. Scharle, 2006 WL 1697101 (3d Cir. June 21, 2006) (not for publication).