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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Copyright dispute over film outfit


Satana
in her evil outfit
Echos of the Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet dispute (UK judgment here) are being heard in the Philippines. Designer and costume artist Lee Roy New has asked the makers of a recent blockbuster Filipino movie to pay him P10 million in damages for violating his copyright in the costume worn by the main villain “Satana”, an evil fairy portrayed by actress Bing Loyzaga in the film Enteng.

New was even was acknowledged in the movie’s closing credits and his lawyers obtained admissions from members of the production team, as well as materials naming New as the source of the costume.

As well as copyright in the costume as a work of sculpture, New claims his moral rights were violated since the work was also altered. New’s success as a costume designer is reflected in lady Gaga’s use of one of his outfits.

As we know from the Star Wars cases, copyright in sculptures is not always easy to apply to costumes.  But the Philippines IP Code does protect scuptures as well as applied art, so the case seems strong.

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