Vigeland sculptures fair game, EU rules

Oslo’s famous Angry Boy and Monolith monuments are free to be copied for profit

The Angry Boy statue.

Photo: Lisabethwasp / Wikimedia Commons
Vigeland’s Sinnataggen is over 70 years old—and well out of copyright.

The Local

Oslo’s famous Sinnataggen (Spitfire or Angry Boy) and Monolitten (Monolith) monuments are free to be copied for profit after the city’s municipality lost a bid to reserve rights to Gustav Vigeland’s sculptures.

The decision, made by the Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights on November 13, has also been tried by the EU’s EFTA freed trade court with the same result, reports NRK.

The decision means that the sculptures can be freely copied by anyone for the purpose of making profit.

Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, who created the statues, was born in 1869 and died in 1943—over 70 years ago, meaning his own rights over the works have expired, writes NRK. Oslo Municipality has unsuccessfully attempted to prevent this resulting in unlicensed copies of the statues being sold.

“I completely agree with this verdict,” Inger Berg Ørstavik, associate professor at the University of Oslo’s Department of Private Law, told NRK. No exclusive rights to works of art can be held once copyright has expired, she said.

The case has also become important in principle, since it is the first of its kind, and the EFTA ruling has added European interest in the verdict, she added.

“Both Gustav Vigeland the sculptor and Vigeland Sculpture Park must be considered part of our cultural heritage,” the Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights said in its verdict according to NRK.

Vigeland was Norway’s leading figure in his art form in the first half of the 20th century.

Oslo Municipality said that it took consolation from the fact that no other third parties would be able to secure rights over the works.

The municipality will not be taking the case further. “We have been given an outcome over this question and take it into consideration. We will now continue with what is most important for us—showing who Vigeland the artist was,” Rina Mariann Hansen, a member of the municipality’s culture committee, told NRK.

This article was originally published on The Local.

This article also appeared in the Dec. 1, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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