The NRA is everyone’s favorite boogieman, isn’t it? People get to blame the group for anything and lash out in any way they want to and know the media will treat them like sweet little darlings.
I can’t help but believe that this is behind, at least in part, a lawsuit by artist Anish Kapoor against the National Rifle Association for showing one of his more famous sculptures in their “Clinched Fist of Truth” video.
Anish Kapoor, the artist who created the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, has filed a federal lawsuit against the National Rifle Association, alleging the organization infringed on the copyright of his work by using an image of it in a June 2017 video ad titled “The Clenched Fist of Truth.”
Kapoor, who lives and works in London, first condemned the NRA’s use of his 2006 sculpture, widely known as The Bean, in a March 2018 statement issued in collaboration with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, according to a news release on the lawsuit.
Kapoor, who said his creative work has been “appropriated by the NRA to perpetuate its hateful ideology,” asked the organization to remove an image of Cloud Gate from its video. He is asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to order the image’s removal from the video and award damages for the unauthorized use of his copyrighted work.
The problem is, I’m not entirely sure he’s got a hope in hell of making this happen.
After all, “The Bean” is a huge art installation. It’s out in the public view and is a routine photo stop for people in Chicago. It’s been in multiple movies as well, such as The Break-Up and Source Code. It’s a visual piece that’s associated with Chicago on a very deep level.
But, again, it’s in public.
As such, I’m not sure a video recording of the piece remotely violates anyone’s copyright. In fact, considering the nature of the NRA’s spot, a case could easily be made that it falls under Fair Use since the voice over includes Dana Loesch’s commentary on the state of things.
The truth is, it’s pretty clear that Kapoor doesn’t have a problem with his sculpture being in videos. After all, there’s no mention of him being compensated for Cloud Gate appearing in movies, and there’s plenty of copyright-free images of the sculpture on the internet, which he’s not fighting either. Unless he can show either being compensated or at least trying to get compensated, I think he’s kind of screwed.
No, the problem is that a group he doesn’t approve of showed it and he’s lashing out.
Too bad for him that Illinois has an anti-SLAPP law. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, SLAPP means “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” In other words, any lawsuit that’s designed to make someone shut up. Kapoor is pretty clear that his problem is that he wants to make the NRA be quiet, at least regarding one controversial yet powerful spot. He’s also trying to punish someone he doesn’t like.
That doesn’t fly, apparently even in Illinois.
This lawsuit needs to die. Hard.
Luckily, while I’m not a lawyer, it looks like it should.