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Mango Prevails: Court Supports NFT Art Exhibition in Metaverse

Post Time:2024-02-18 Source:europa.eu Author: Views:

At the end of January, Barcelona's Mercantile Court No. 9 ruled in favour of Mango in a lawsuit involving Mango and the copyright society VEGAP over the creation of NFT inspired by the works of three well-known Catalan authors. The lawsuit, filed by VEGAP, sought 1.37 million euros in damages from the fashion company for infringing copyright by reproducing the works without authorisation.

In May 2022, Punto Na SA, the company which owns the Mango brand, hired video and crypto artists to create digital artworks for the inauguration of a store in New York. Their inspiration came from paintings by Catalan artists Joan Miró, Antoni Tàpies and Miquel Barceló, the originals of which are owned by Mango.

Mango's project aimed to create a virtual experience of visiting the new store. The digital assets were therefore uploaded to both the Descentraland metaverse and the OpenSea platform, two leading NFT marketplaces. It's worth noting, however, that these assets were not available for purchase, download or reproduction, their purpose was exclusively for viewing by those attending the inauguration.

As a result, VEGAP (“Visual Entidad de Gestión de Artistas Plásticos”), a collective management organisation for intellectual property rights in Spain that represents more than 150,000 authors worldwide, sued Mango for not obtaining authorisation for the reproduction and public communication of the works in question.

The key issue was to determine the scope of the Mango Group's rights as the owner of the original paintings. In other words, whether the transformation of a physical work of art into an NFT constituted a modification of the work that could affect the author's rights, or whether, on the contrary, the ownership of a physical work conferred the right to transform it into an NFT. In this case, the question was if, by acquiring the original paintings, Mango acquired an absolute right of use and exploitation in any context, and if the use made of the works could be considered harmless, without the need for authorisation from the authors.

After careful consideration, the Barcelona court concluded that it wasn't a case of direct reproduction of the artworks, which would have involved copying them without adding new elements, but rather a transformation of the original works. These were modified by crypto-artists hired by the company to create new pieces of art that were different from the originals and had their own originality. Since these are essentially new works that modify and transform the original paintings, the rights of the artists Miró, Tàpies and Barceló, as well as those of their heirs, have not been infringed. In addition, the court recognised Mango's right to exhibit the purchased paintings without the need for authorisation from the original creators.