Having succeeded in obtaining injunctive relief and token damages in France, LV initially obtained injunctive relief in the Netherlands too (for the litigation background see Rosie Burbidge's post on Art & Artifice here). The IPKat has now learned that, earlier this week, The Hague District Court reversed its own earlier order and has now decided that Plesner's right of free speech is fundamental and trumps LV's entitlement to assert its design right. Those of you who are fluent in Dutch can read the decision here. The Kats are awaiting an English translation, which they believe will come through their Kat-flap before the end of the week.
An emotive fixture in Europe's modern art heritage is the Berlin Wall, which like Guernica communicates a profound statement of man's cruelty to his fellow man. Now a tourist attraction for many folk who were born too recently to remember those who were slain in a vain attempt to cross it, the Wall is still capable of engendering controversy. In "Berlin Wall artists sue city in copyright controversy", Guardian Online, 3 May (spotted by too many readers to thank by name), reports that
"The East Side Gallery is one of Berlin's most popular tourist attractions, a 1.3km-long brightly painted stretch of the wall which divided east and west for almost 30 years. But now the outdoor exhibition space is embroiled in an expensive copyright controversy after Berlin council destroyed some artworks painted on the wall and reproduced others without the permission of the original artists.The IPKat is frankly surprised that the authorities in Berlin -- the capital of a country which has a long and proud tradition of upholding artists' rights -- have been allowed to place themselves in a situation such as this; indeed, his instinct is to ask whether there is another side of the story which might explain their action. Merpel says, every art college should be offering courses on Intellectual Property for Artists, since they seem to be more in need of legal services and representation than many other categories of creators.
The city of Berlin, which owns the wall and the land around it, is being sued by 21 artists over the way the council handled recent renovation of the gallery. ... the artists say they – and about 80 other painters who decorated the wall shortly after the borders between east and west were opened in November 1989 – were offered €3,000 (£2,700) each by Berlin council to recreate their original murals after the site was overhauled for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall two years ago.
The artists were told if they refused to comply, an urban renewal firm contracted by the council would whitewash their work and get someone else to re-create – or "forge", according to the aggrieved artists – the originals. ... Many of the Berlin artists deemed €3,000 an insultingly low amount, especially as it was public knowledge that Berlin council had put aside a total of €2.2m for the renovations.
Hannes Hartung, a Munich-based lawyer representing artists in the legal action, said Thierry Noir, one of the artists who contributed to the East Side Gallery, had successfully won €250,000 from Germany's highest court after a section of the wall he painted was sold to a private collector.
Bodo Sperling, one of the founders of the East Side Gallery, whose work was whitewashed two years ago, is demanding at least €25,000. Sperling and 18 others who refused the €3,000 and then watched their work being destroyed are suing the council. They said they would be happy to repaint their designs – for a fair price. Ever since they threatened legal action during the renovation process two years ago, their sections of the wall have remained blank.
The claim is due to be filed in a Berlin court on Wednesday, although the case is unlikely to be heard for at least three months".
Earlier IPKat post on copyright in the Berlin Wall here.