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“Charging Bull” vs. “Fearless Girl”

On Wednesday last week, the sculptor of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” statue, Arturo di Modica, accused New York City of violating his legal rights, by allowing the “Fearless Girl” to be installed facing his bull without his permission.

The “Fearless Girl” was installed near Wall Street on March 7, the day before International Women’s Day to make the point that there’s a lack of gender diversity on the boards of the largest US corporations. It quickly became a tourist magnet and tens of thousands of people signed a petition for it to stay longer, leading to Mayor Bill de Blasio extending the statue’s permit for nearly one year.

“Fearless Girl” by Kristen Visbal was commissioned by the investment firm, State Street Global Advisors. State Street is also the creator of the Gender Diversity Index SHE, which tracks gender diversity in companies. Therefore, Di Modica’s lawyers believed that the statue was a marketing campaign, and it used “Charging Bull” as part of its image, which violates Di Modica’s trademark rights.

Di Modica believes that “Fearless Girl” was an insult to his bull which he created after the stock market crash in the late 1980s. The “Fearless Girl” undermines the bull’s meaning, and transformed it into a negative force and a threat. Di Modica says that the “Fearless Girl” statue infringes on his own artistic copyright to the “Charging Bull,” by changing the creative dynamic.

Di Modica and his lawyers stressed that they were proponents of gender equality, but there are issues of copyright and trademark that still need to be addressed, and they would just like the “Fearless Girl” statue to be moved somewhere else in the city.

What are your thoughts on the artwork being commissioned by an investment giant, do you believe that it is a marketing campaign? Do you think that Di Modica is in the right and “Fearless Girl” should be placed elsewhere?

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