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Wyland is taking back his tail


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#1 underwatercolours

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 06:17 PM

After a handshake deal with the state of California fourteen years ago, artist Wyland is now retracting his offer to use a whale tail he painted for use on our CA license plates (one of many designs we can choose).

According to the LA Times his original offer was to use the image unconditionally. Now he's demanding that the state pay 20% of the plate sales to HIS non-profit organization rather than split the funds between hundreds of other non-profit groups that fund beach clean up, education and other conservation efforts.

Here's the story: http://www.latimes.c...story?track=rss

I have to admit I'm a bit torn here. On one hand, being a staunch defender of intellectual property I agree that Wyland owns his whale tale. On the other hand, I think he's being a bit selfish in his current demands. Nonprofit does not mean that he's not making any money on this.

Curious to see what others think.

Edited by underwatercolours, 25 June 2008 - 06:18 PM.


#2 rtrski

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:06 AM

I don't claim to be an expert on the situation or the law, but if it's true he originally had agreed to unconditional use, then it's not a matter of 'intellectual property' - he already 'sold' (or 'granted') usage rights. It's simply a matter of was there an agreement before, or not.

If there was, he's being a greedy asshat, plain and simple by trying to leverage the status quo (if he's after the money for charity, maybe 'manipulative asshat' works better than 'greedy'). If there wasn't, then he's well within his rights to ask for whatever he wants, and the state is well within its rights to choose not to agree and use someone else's image instead. Or for that matter if the agreement existed they can choose not to be manipulated and KEEP using his image, but they'd probably know better than to do so if only because of the bad press that would generate. The article's ending quote sounds like they're playing it smart in that regard, not capitulating but not getting suckered into being the bad guys.

Frankly I'd think in a "handshake" deal both sides lose (hence the state doesn't get to keep using the image even if the agreement did exist), since there's really not much proof either way...it's all he said, she said. But the fact that he waited 14 years to suddenly 'complain' he wasn't getting his due, and is quoted as saying they were permitted "to borrow one of my images for a period of time" - doesn't ring true to me. Sounds too much like revisionist history.

Ah well. Still like his murals. But like actors, don't have to think much of the artist to like the art. :wacko: Read another IP-related story recently that cracked me up - a music composer for computer games who wrote a theme song for a war-related video game, as part of his job, which means he owned no rights, he was paid to write the song for his employer's use, was moaning that it got sold by the company for use in a John McCain political ad since he's an Obama man. Posted this big whinging blog that his rights were being trampled... :D

Edited by rtrski, 26 June 2008 - 05:11 AM.

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