General News

Freddie Mercury gorilla sculpture removed after copyright complaint

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Jul 08, 2013 | 2:01pm EDT

A gorilla sculpture painted to resemble tragic rocker Freddie Mercury has been removed from display in the U.K. amid allegations of copyright infringement. Organisers of art group Go Go Gorillas were forced to take down the piece, called Freddie 'Radio Go Go' Gorilla, from its home outside The Forum venue in Norwich, England after receiving a complaint from executives of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS awareness charity set up in the Queen singer's name following his death from complications of the disease in 1991. Charity bosses claimed the yellow jacket the gorilla was painted in, made to look just like the flamboyant frontman's famous stage outfit, misrepresented Mercury's image and breached their rights. They requested the statue be removed and repainted, and the Go Go Gorillas representatives have obliged. The gorilla, one of 53 placed around the city, had been decorated by local artist Mik Richardson ahead of a planned charity auction, and he is angry his work has been taken down because he took precautions to ensure there would be no legal repercussions. He tells the BBC, "It's dreadful. It's petty, really... I'm a mural artist and I have to be very careful about copyright. I didn't copy the suit exactly. I alter enough so that it's fan art, rather than a copy of it."

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