Dutch Artist, Festival Tussle Over Giant Rubber Duck

Some ripples ahead of Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden.

HomepageDuckIt’s early in the week, but Philadelphia magazine senior writer Victor Fiorillo may have us all already beat when it comes to this frame’s wildest email subject line. A message he received Monday was titled: ‘Unauthorized rubber duck project in Philadelphia.’

The email was from Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. As Fiorillo explains, Hofman claims that after not being paid for use of his giant rubber duck artwork on the west coast, the same Tall Ships Festival is planning without additional contractual permission to use the prop again in Philadelphia at the end of June. The reporter spoke to both Hofman and an organizer of the Tall Ships events:

[Tall Ships Philadelphia producer Craig] Samborski claims that Hofman was paid for Tall Ships LA – he thinks it was $50,000 – but admits that Hofman may not have received his final payment. But, more importantly, Samborski says that the duck used in the Los Angeles event and now in Philadelphia isn’t even Hofman’s duck.

“It’s not his duck,” Samborski insists. “It’s just another large inflatable duck.”

Samborski claims the festival was forced to go a different route after Hofman delivered sketches rather than the requested engineering blueprints. And thanks to Fiorillo, the event organizer says he was going to make sure a credit for the LA duck to Hofman is removed from the official event website.

There’s also this legal opinion in the article from intellectual property expert Jordan LaVine:

“He [Hofman] is essentially claiming a copyright in large rubber ducks,” observes LaVine, whose clients include The New York Times, Martha Stewart and Ancestry.com… “This just looks like a standard rubber ducky.”

 
[Photo via: tallshipsphiladelphia.com]