Copyright and the Meaning of Art

The “Fearless Girl” statue sparked headlines around the world in March when it appeared opposite the famous “Charging Bull” statue at Manhattan’s Bowling Green. The statue, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors as an advertisement for its index fund of gender diverse companies, generated a fair amount of controversy. Among those upset about “Fearless Girl” is the creator of “Charging Bull” – Arturo Di Modica. Di Modica claims that when the city allowed installation of “Fearless Girl” opposite “Charging Bull” it corrupted the artistic integrity of his artwork. He complains that when he installed “Charging Bull” in 1989, he intended it to be a symbol of the strength of the American free market and that “Fearless Girl” changes that meaning – making the Bull a villain to which the Girl stands up. Di Modica and his lawyers sent a letter alleging copyright violations and demanding that “Fearless Girl” be removed. Does the permitting of a second statute in a public place violate the copyright of the artist of the first statue? Do artists have rights in controlling the meaning of their works? Join Antigone Peyton and Jennifer Atkins as they discuss Di Modica’s potential copyright claims and the varying protection of “moral rights” in the United States and around the world.

Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano via Creative Commons license.

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