Copyright sull’unicorno e riproduzione su zaini

La US DC southern district court di New York, 25.03.2021, OMG Accessories c. Mystic apparel, 19 CV 11589 (ALC) (RWL),  decide un caso di diritto d’autore in cui era stata riprodotta su zaini una creazione artistica (design) raffigurante con motivo seriale la figura mitologica dell’Unicorno  (unicorn pattern), registrato per il copyright (come succede in US).

L’originale e la pretesa violazione son riprodotte in sententa.

VEdiamo l’esame sul se ricorra la substantial similarity: la corte dice di sì, almeno in cvia cautelare (la motion to dismiss è respinta).

<<To determine substantial similarity, courts ask “whether an ‘ordinary observer, unless he set out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard [the] aesthetic appeal as the same.’” Id. at 66. (quoting Yurman Design, Inc. v. PAJ, Inc., 262 F.3d 101, 111 (2d Cir. 2001)). In other words, the question becomes “whether ‘an average lay observer would recognize the alleged copy as having been appropriated from the copyrighted work.’” Id. (quoting Knitwaves, Inc. v. Lollytogs Ltd. (Inc.), 71 F.3d 996, 1002 (2d Cir. 1995))  .

However, if the protected work in question includes “both protectible and unprotectible elements,” courts may apply a “more discerning” standard that requires the court to “‘extract the unprotectible elements from [its] consideration and [to] ask whether the protectible elements, standing alone, are substantially similar.’” Id. (quoting Knitwaves, Inc., 71 F.3d at 1002). However, in no event must the court “dissect [the works] into their separate components, and compare only those elements which are in themselves copyrightable.” Id. (internal citations omitted). Instead, the Court “‘compar[es] the contested design’s “total concept and overall feel” with that of the allegedly infringed work,’ as instructed by ‘[its] good eyes and common sense.’” Id. (first quoting Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures, Inc. v. Einstein Moomjy, Inc., 338 F.3d 127, 133 (2d Cir. 2003), then quoting Hamil Am. Inc., 193 F.3d a t 102>> (p. 5/6)

I convenuti avevano allegato che alcuni elementi del design attoreo non erano proteggibili,  in quanto motivi comuni. La corte bensì concorda : <Defendants allege that Plaintiff’s use of a close-eyelash line to express the eye of a unicorn, rainbow forelocks, and depiction of the horn of a unicorn are not protectable elements. The Court agrees. The unicorn is a mythical creature and it is often depicted with rainbow colored elements …  or other glamorized features regarding its horn and eyes>>.

Tuttavia precisa anche che i lavori sub iudice <<do “share a similarity of expression” or a similarity in their “total concept or feel” sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Hogan v. DC Comics, 48 F. Supp. 2d 298, 309 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (quoting Williams v. Crichton, 84 F.3d 581, 589 (2d Cir. 1996)). The cumulative effect of the closed eyes with distinctive eyelashes, rainbow colored locks, glittered horn, and pink hearts on the face or cheek of the unicorn1 present a concept that is similar to the Unicorn Pattern Design and alleged infringing design. With this in mind, the Court finds that it would be premature to decide, at this stage, that “no reasonable jury, properly instructed, could find that the two works are substantially similar” based on their “total concept and overall feel.” Peter F. Gaito, 602 F.3d at 63>>

La corte rigetta pure -allo stato- la difesa da fair use.