The Chicago Sun-Times has begun live blogging the R. Kelly trial in Cook County state court at its new blog the Kelly Chronicles. As with the Chicago Tribune’s Rezko trial blog, Rezko Gavel to Gavel, the Kelly Chronicles is not IP-related. But regardless of the legal claims, trial blogs are a great way to get a non-legal perspective on a trial from start to finish. Fortunately for Chicago-area litigators and litigants, the Chicago papers have begun actively live-blogging local trials which should provide a wealth of this kind of information.
The Chicago Tribune’s Ameet Sachdev reported that an ongoing copyright dispute may be coming to a head at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street in Chicago, click here for the Tribune article. In the 1980s, Israeli artist Yaacov Agam was commissioned to create a sculpture for what would become the Stone Container building at 150 N. Michigan Avenue.* Over time, Chicago weather faded the work and the current owner hired an expert to restore the multi-hued work to its original look. Agam is unhappy with the restoration because he believes the colors were not restored to the exact shades he originally used. The work is now back on display at the corner of Michigan and Randolph, and Agam is headed to Chicago this weekend to view the restored, or as he calls it "reconstructed," work.
In a previous Tribune article,** Agam’s counsel admits that VARA, the Visual Artists Rights Act, did not protect Agam’s position because the work was created before 1990 and because Agam no longer owns his work. But Agam claimed to hold the copyright in the work and argued that the copyright allowed him to prevent the current owner from creating a derivative work, which Agam believed the restored or reconstructed work to be because of the changed colors. The dispute is likely governed by the contract commissioning Agam to make the work. Of course, it is possible, and maybe even likely, that the contract is silent or ambiguous regarding derivative works or that it was an oral contract without proof of what the parties intended. It will be interesting to see how the dispute is resolved and, I am sure, people who work in the area will be glad that the wooden stump that stood in the work’s place has been replaced by some restored version of the work.
* Click here for a picture of the sculpture and further discussion of this dispute at the One-Way Street.
** Click here to read the blog’s post about that article.
I have missed the first few presenters in the Chicago-Kent & Loyola University Chicago IP Colloquium, but the next presentation is set for tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8, in Room 305 at Kent at 4:10 pm. Professor R. Polk Wagner of the University of Pennsylvania Law School will discuss his article Did Phillips Change Anything? The article poses a question that should interest all patent litigators and I am sure there will be a lively discussion.
The Chicago Tribune ran three law-related, non-IP stories that are worth a read over the weekend:
- A profile of Jenner & Block’s new managing partner Susan Levy — click here for the story;
- A long story on the disparity in starting legal salaries and the consistency in law school tuition rates – click here for the story; and
- An excerpt by Chicago attorney R. Eugene Pincham, who died Thursday, from Your Witness: Lessons on Cross-Examination and Life from Great Chicago Trial Lawyers, which goes on sale Monday at www.yourwitnessbook.com – click here for the story. The essay details how Pincham prepared for trial and is a must read for all trial attorneys. Pincham’s excerpt got my attention. I will be getting a copy of the book and will post a review when I am done with it. Here is how the Tribune described Pincham:
a pioneering African-American lawyer and champion of unpopular causes. His colorful oratory, which drew on personal history, made him a legend in Chicago courthouses.