11 December 2018Copyright

Anish Kapoor scoops victory in NRA copyright dispute

British sculptor Anish Kapoor has said he is “pleased to declare victory” over the US National Rifle Association (NRA) in a copyright dispute centring on one of his works.

The win, which Kapoor announced on Thursday, December 6, shows that the NRA’s “bullying and intimidation” has not succeeded, according to the press release.

The NRA, which advocates for gun rights and describes itself as “America’s longest-standing civil rights organisation”, has more than five million members.

Kapoor filed his copyright complaint against the group at the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in June.

Between 1999 and 2005, Kapoor constructed a sculpture called “ Cloud Gate” out of stainless steel plates. The sculpture is nicknamed ‘The Bean’ because of its shape and has been the centrepiece of the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois since 2006.

“Cloud Gate” is registered with the US Copyright Office (number VA 1-983-425).

Kapoor alleged that, in June 2017, the NRA published a “controversial video advertisement” which included an image of “Cloud Gate”.

According to the suit, the video “warns of civil unrest and violence” and is a “clear call to armed violence against liberals and the media”.

A black-and-white image of “Cloud Gate” is shown in its entirety at or around the 17-second mark of the video, the complaint said. The video concludes by inviting viewers to join the NRA.

Kapoor said that his demands for his work to be removed from the video was refused, and that he had suffered damage as a result of the infringement.

The complaint said that “but for its infringement”, the NRA has obtained profits it would not have otherwise realised, in the form of increased membership fees following the publication of the video. Kapoor is entitled to disgorgement of these profits, the suit argued.

The NRA sought to dismiss the case but, in October, the court shot down the request.

Now, Kapoor has announced that the NRA complied with the demand to remove the unauthorised image of the sculpture from its “abhorrent video”, which promotes “fear, hostility and division in American society”.

“This is a victory not just in defence of the copyright of my work, but it is also a declaration that we stand with those who oppose gun violence in America and elsewhere,” Kapoor said.

He added: “The NRA will not be allowed to use art in support of their propaganda.”

Kapoor also invited the NRA to donate $1 million to charities which support victims of gun violence. WIPR has asked the NRA whether it intends to make the donation.

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More on this story

20 June 2018   British sculptor Anish Kapoor has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the US National Rifle Association after it featured one of his sculptures in a video which, he claimed, calls for “armed violence”.
25 October 2018   The US National Rifle Association (NRA) has received a mixed ruling in a copyright infringement claim involving a London-based sculptor.