Copyright Claim By Freddie Mercury's Charity Results In Removal Of Another Charity's Freddie Mercury Gorilla
from the go-go-bananas dept
There must be something about the band Queen that makes people go IP crazy. A while back was the hilarious news about a drunk Canadian singing Bohemian Rhapsody, with EMI taking the video down before relenting amid the backlash. How could you get more bizarre than that, right? Well, first you’d have to come up with two unrelated charities, the only common denominator being that each has something to do with the band Queen. Then you’d have to introduce a fiberglass gorilla painted to look like Freddie Mercury, long-dead lead singer of the band. Finally, you’d have to make sure that said Freddie Mercury gorilla was removed from public view over a copyright claim.
Mercury Phoenix Trust contacted Wild in Art, the company that supplied the gorilla glass-fibre canvases, according to director Charlie Langhorne.
“They just said that they own the copyright on the suit and asked us to change it,” Mr Langhorne said. “That’s being sorted. To save any bother we will change it.”
Mercury Phoenix Trust is an AIDS charity constructed in the name of Freddie Mercury, who died of the disease. Go Go Gorillas, the charity that commissioned the Mercury gorilla, is supported by Brian May, former guitarist for Queen. Go Go Gorillas is running the gorilla campaign to raise awareness and funds for conservation efforts in the Congo. All laudable goals made petty via the use of copyright laws to take down the Freddie Mercury gorilla and replace it with a newly painted version.
Whether or not there’s a legitimate copyright claim in the “jacket” from Mercury Phoenix Trust seems like an open question (and it’s pretty easy to argue that the copyright claim is highly questionable). But, really, does that even matter when the mere threat of a copyright claim is enough to have the statue pulled?
Martin Green of Break, one of two charities that will benefit from the auction of the gorillas once the exhibition is over, said: “It’s a disappointing position they have put us in.
“Freddie is one of our most popular gorillas on the trail and now we’ve got to remove him from the streets, but we’re respecting the wishes of another charity.”
So thanks a lot, copyright. You’ve been used as a pawn in a needless battle between two charities with far greater work to do, all the while depriving me of a gorilla that looks like it’s about to sing We Will Rock You to anyone within listening distance. Personally, I can’t think of a greater crime against humanity.