Reading excerpts from a rejection-letter from the LEGO toymaker to the Australian National Gallery in response to a bulk order for an upcoming instillation by the famous, artist Ai Weiwei… is a cautionary reminder of how quickly viral backlash can unfurl.
In addition to refusing to fulfill a bulk order for toy bricks placed by the museum, the LEGO toymaker evidently requested the following in their rejection-letter:
- The LEGO trademark cannot be used commercially in any way to promote, or name, the artwork; and
- It must be clear to the public that the LEGO Group has not sponsored or endorsed the artwork/project.
In response to the LEGO toymaker’s rejection-letter, collection points have been established around the world for LEGO brick donations to support the art project and the artist has decided to make a new work defending freedom of speech and political art. (I’d say it’s pretty clear to the public that the LEGO Group has not sponsored or endorsed the art project).
The Brooklyn Museum is accepting LEGO brick donations – donations can be placed in the sunroof of a car parked in front of the museum or can be sent by mail –> https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/ai_weiwei_lego_collection_point
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: earlier posts on trademarks at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/; a BBC News article titled, “Australia gallery collects Lego for Ai Weiwei at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34664262; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
And a few lagniappe topics:
This post is a valentine for my mom… who will be lecturing on this topic for other authors and photographers over the weekend.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
Sending a cease and desist letter is a common way to notify someone that they are using your copyright protected material without your permission and to request that they remove the infringing use and/or pay up.
A cease and desist letter is only effective if it is sent by the owner of the work. A funny scenario surfaced recently, when a news agency sent a cease and desist letter requesting that a photograph taken by a monkey be removed from a website. But hold on… who owns the copyright in a monkey’s self portrait anyway?!? Evidently, a monkey in a national park in Indonesia picked up a photographer’s camera and snapped a few pictures. (One of them is a hilarious self portrait of the monkey. Take a look at –> http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110706/00200314983/monkey-business-can-monkey-license-its-copyrights-to-news-agency.shtml.)
Since, the news agency didn’t employ the monkey or own the monkey, nor did it license the monkey’s work… the cease and desist letter that it sent… doesn’t have much oomph.
For more info on what to do if you receive a cease and desist letter, see –> http://wp.me/p10nNq-1B
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq.
email@example.com and www.kasterlegal.com
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