Jul 15, 2022

Absolutely Bananas

In what was a bizarre twist in the world of art, back in 2019, someone paid $120,000 for a banana duct-taped to a wall. The banana artwork was then featured in the Guggenheim museum when it re-opened in 2020.

The banana artwork, named “Comedian” was created by Maurizio Cattelan. The New York Times reported the artwork, as sold, does not actually include a banana or duct tape. The buyer receives a 14-page list of instructions on how to install and display the banana.

A visual artist, Joe Morford has filed a claim for copyright infringement over the bizarre artwork. Morford claims the “Comedian” artwork is a rip-off of his original work called “Banana & Orange”. Morford registered his artwork with the U.S Copyright Office in 2000. The artwork consists of a banana and an orange duct-taped to a wall. Morfords lawyers claim that under American law the element of the art (i.e. the banana and duct tape) is not covered by copyright, but the “selection, coordination and arrangement” can be.

It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds. Under English law, copyright is not a registered right, but the owner received automatic protection if the relevant requirements are satisfied. This is contrary to US law in which copyright can be registered at the United States Copyright Office.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 291 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com

in: Case Law, Copyright, EU/International, Legal News

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