Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The value of the mark

Artist signature font pack. Available here.

Seems like going after a flea with an elephant gun really -- but Damien Hirst has reportedly demanded that "Cartain", a schoolboy artist who's been selling collages featuring reproductions of images by Hirst juxtaposed with images from food advertising and other photographs, "not only remove the works from sale but 'deliver up' originals, along with any profit made on those sold, or face legal action." According to the Independent, Cartain has since paid Hirst 200 pounds and given him the remaining unsold works.

I guess when you're a global brand, you have to guard your copyright zealously, no matter the microscopic scale of the transgressor. In related news this week in Christchurch, Playboy Enterprises went hard after the owner of a party booze bus who named his fleet after a bunny transfer he found on the side of his first vehicle. The Press reported that the global conglomerate had accused the Bunny Party Bus-man of using Playboy's "world-famous Bunny mark and a confusingly similar Rabbit Head design". Legal action might ensue, etc.

The Press went to Professor Jeremy Finn from the University of Canterbury Law School for comment. "If you have a well-known mark you protect it by being aggressive about the edges, otherwise you end up not being able to stop that same person in the future. For many of these companies the value of the mark is the biggest asset they have," he said.

"It's just bullying," said the disillusioned bus-man, peeling off his stickers.

Meanwhile the consistently informative Canterbury Heritage blog mounts a strong argument this week that a significant early map of the new Christchurch settlement, "alleged" to have been completed by Assistant Surveyor Edward Jollie on 18 March 1850, was in fact a forgery dating from five years later. The evidence marshalled by the blogger includes various street names which didn't exist until 1853, as well as the incorporation of the signature of a Chief Surveyor who had returned to England by the earliest occasion on which the map could have been drawn. The false map, suggests Canterbury Heritage, was designed to "provide legal status in October 1855 for building on the public reserves and also for the subdivision of three of the green belts that surrounded the original city."

A bad business.

No comments: