Mit der Auffassung der "Royal Mail" hätte es Andy Warhols Drucke der Campell's Suppendosen wohl auch nie gegeben.
Royal Mail stamps down on postage art
Wednesday June 4, 2003
The Royal Mail has threatened legal
action against an art gallery for selling
mock-stamp prints that feature the
Queen wearing a gas mask.
Artist James Cauty created the series
of prints, entitled Black Smoke, Stamps
of Mass Destruction, in the run up to
the war in Iraq. The prints feature the
well-known bust of the Queen featured
on stamps, but picture her wearing a
gas mask underneath her crown.
The Royal Mail first wrote to Artrepublic, the Brighton gallery
displaying and selling the work, in May and ordered it to remove
the prints from both its shop and website. The work infringed the
Royal Mail's copyright, the company said.
"The copyright of stamps are part of our intellectual property.
They need to get a license from us to use them," the Royal Mail
said today. "We sent them a letter asking them to stop."
The gallery said it received another letter on Friday, telling them
to stop selling the prints by June 3, but the Royal Mail agreed to
extend the deadline to this Friday to allow the gallery to seek
legal advice. The gallery said it intends to fight the action.
Artrepublic continued to offer Mr Cauty's Black Smoke prints for
sale on its website today, with the first, second and third class
versions selling for £470 each. Lawrence Alkin, the chief
executive officer of Artrepublic, said the gallery had already sold
23 of the prints before the publicity over the Royal Mail's legal
"This is the biggest reaction I've had to art, and I've been in the
business over 20 years," he said.
James Cauty responded: "I am just an artist doing my job. Are
the Royal Mail trying to infringe my artistic freedom?"
However Stuart Lockyear, a partner at law firm Davenport Lyons,
said the Royal Mail seemed to have a strong case for copyright
infringement. He said there was a possible defence of fair
dealing, but that was generally used for literary works. Another
possible route was the using the freedom of expression clause
in the Human Rights Act, but that had never been tested in the
UK, he said.
"Copyright is very strong in the UK, and there are not defences
for using icons in the public domain," Mr Lockyear explained.
Sensitive to claims that the Royal Mail was attempting to censor
a work of art, a company spokesman responded: "This has
nothing to do with it being a work of art. This is about our
intellectual property, and they do not have a right to use it
without our permission."