Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trademarks in a Copyrightable Work: TM Owner Shuts Down Museum Exhibit

Museum Exhibits of Sculptures Made From Louis Vuitton Fakes Shut Down

Sculptures of locusts removed from a museum in Japan after the designer complained, HT Techdirt, stories here and here.

Making fine art from materials in which trademarks appear is a common problem.  These locust sculptures were said by the artist to comment on the relationship between authenticity and imitation.

Does an artist need to purchase REAL Louis Vuitton to make a statement about how fake Louis Vuitton is?How is displaying something in a museum perceived to be a commercial endorsement by Louis Vuitton?

Sculptural works are protected by copyright law.  17 USC 102 a 5

§ 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.

 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook from West here  

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Interesting! Especially because in something like this, the fact that the fake grasshopper is made out of a fake Louis Vuitton actually underscores the point of the art in a way using the real goods would not.

Copyright holders and the 1st amendment: not BFFs.