Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Bull (UPDATED)

David Post says no copyright violation:  "[The Fearless Girl artist] didn’t touch or alter or reproduce or displace the design of Di Modica’s sculpture, or incorporate any parts of his design into her design. She may well have used the meaning, or the message, of his work in her work; but he doesn’t have any ownership rights in the meaning or the message of his work. He has rights only in its design. So even if Visbal intentionally (and successfully) changed that meaning or message, Di Modica, as an artist, may feel that this is deeply objectionable, but there’s nothing in copyright law that allows him to stop her from doing that."

As for VARA, he says "the statute protects only against 'any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work' (and only if the distortion, mutilation or modification 'would be prejudicial to [the artist’s] honor or reputation'), and it would seem impossible to argue that Visbal distorted or mutilated or modified the work in any way."

UPDATE:  In an update to his post, Post posts the following:  "Several commenters suggested that Visbal did indeed incorporate parts of his design into hers, insofar as her Fearless Girl was (by assumption) conceived to be facing down the charging bull.  As one reader put it: 'Her design ... clearly and intentionally includes the bull. As Visbal explains, the point of her design is that the girl is blocking the bull, so the bull is, by definition, part of the design.' I could have been clearer: she didn’t incorporate any of Di Modica’s copyright-protected design into hers.  A charging bull may be part of Visbal’s conception of the work – but Di Modica doesn’t have copyright protection in a charging bull, he only has copyright protection in his particular design of a charging bull ....  The mere idea of a bull charging isn’t part of his protected design – so even if she had 'charging bull' as part of her design, she didn’t incorporate Di Modica’s 'Charging Bull' into her work."