Wednesday 7 May 2014

Panis angelicus? Angel of the North helps sell bread

Via Lee Curtis and the Retail + IP LinkedIn Group comes this link to a Guardian feature, "Morrisons employs Angel of the North to sell bread" which reads, in relevant part:
"When Antony Gormley devised one of the most recognisable pieces of public art in the land – the Angel of the North – he wanted to create a work that would serve as a connection between our industrial past and the future of the information age. He had not anticipated that someone would try to use it to flog bread. But that is what the struggling supermarket chain Morrisons has done – projecting an image of a baguette on to the majestic wings of Gormley's sculpture. 
Gormley, who finished the sculpture in 1998, reacted with weary resignation to the news that his masterwork was being plastered with a giant baguette. 

"I'd rather the Angel is not used for such purposes, but it's out there," said Gormley, who does not deal with copyright matters connected to the sculpture.  
The projection is part of the supermarket's campaign to win back customers ...  It cut prices on 1,200 items by an average of 17% on 1 May.
Morrisons did not respond to requests for comment.
Is this an infringement of the right to integrity under the UK's Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, s.80?  According to the Act:
80.-(1) The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right in the circumstances mentioned in this section not to have his work subjected to derogatory treatment [This sounds encouraging ...].  
(2) For the purposes of this section-  
(a) "treatment" of a work means any addition to, deletion from or alteration to or adaptation of the work ... [but is anything meaningfully being added or altered?],  ...  
(b) the treatment of a work is derogatory if it amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director;  
and in the following provisions of this section references to a derogatory treatment of a work shall be construed accordingly. ...  
(4) In the case of an artistic work the right is infringed by a person who-  
(a) publishes commercially or exhibits in public a derogatory treatment of the work, or communicates to the public a visual image of a derogatory treatment of the work,  
(b) shows in public a film including a visual image of a derogatory treatment of the work or issues to the public copies of such a film,  ... [So where does this leave us?]


Anonymous said...

If you want to meaningfully discuss the applicability of moral rights in the UK to this incident then you really need to do more than just state the statutory provision!

Jeremy said...

Anonymous: you're absolutely right. I was under extreme time pressure and hoped that, if I could get even the skeleton of a blog piece up and running, others might contribute. It's not really an excuse but it is an explanation ...