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Thursday, 4 May 2006


Sculptor sues for destruction of copyright work

CBC reports on an artist who is suing a college which bought his work for $1.2m copyright infringement. Sculptor Haydn Davies is asking that Lambton College of Arts and Technology be ordered to return his work, Homage, to its original condition. His wooden sculpture was said to be infested with ants and raccoons and the college has argued that it is dangerous.

Homage - the sculpture in question (right)

The IPKat isn’t sure precisely which right granted by copyright is being infringed here. The best he could come up with in the author’s moral right to integrity of his work.

US court rules on the meaning of settlements reports that UK 1970s band Cymande has succeded in one leg of a copyright case against the Fugees and Sony. The band argues that the Fugees sampled part of its song, Dove, on a 1996 album. However, in 1998 the parties attempted to settle and Cymnande accepted a $400,000 royalty payment. Before the Sixth Circuit, Sony argued that the acceptance by the band of the royalty payment should be treated as ratification of a settlement agreement, and so that the case should be dismissed. The court rejected this argument, finding that the payment could not be seen as "ratification of an unsigned agreement to settle an infringement dispute" and that Cymande weren’t estopped from continuing their case. However, the $400,000 sum would have to be repaid or deducted from Cymande’s damages if they succeed in their copyright claim.

The IPKat reckons that this decision sounds right. If the acceptance of royalties was treated as a de facto settlement agreement, this would act as a disincentive for copyright owners to accept royalties at an intermediate stage in proceedings, and so would chill the chances of real settlement.


B said...

This is a Canadian case, but U.S. copyright law grants the artist the right to prevent destruction of his/her work. I imagine Canada has a similar law.

USC 17 sec 106A(a)(3)(B): ...the author of a work of visual art ... shall have the right... to prevent any destruction of a work of recognized stature, and any intentional or grossly negligent destruction of that work is a violation of that right.

Ilanah said...

Thanks Mr BK. I wonder why our moral rights provisions in the UK don't include such a right to prevent destruciton. Perhaps it's considered implicit in the moral right of integrity?

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