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Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. v. Public Building Commission of Chicago

320 F. Supp. 1303 (1970)

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Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. v. Public Building Commission of Chicago

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

320 F. Supp. 1303 (1970)

Facts

Renowned artist Pablo Picasso was approached by representatives of the Public Building Commission of Chicago (the commission) (defendant) to create a sculpture for the planned Chicago Civic Center. Picasso created the model for the sculpture and expressed a desire to make the resulting work a gift to the people of Chicago. To that end, the commission and William Hartmann, the center’s main architect, prepared a deed of gift, which Picasso signed. Hartmann then directed a publicity campaign to promote the sculpture. Over the course of this campaign, various press outlets published pictures of the model, none of which bore a copyright notice. Later, the commission attempted to copyright the sculpture. Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. (plaintiff), which wished to sell a copy of the sculpture, brought suit against the commission, alleging that the sculpture was in the public domain. The case was heard in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and both parties moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Napoli, J.)

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