In a matter of days, one 3D designer has gone from being a relatively unknown artist, known only by those who frequent his Shapeways Shop, to a man making headlines on the national nighttime news. Fernando Sosa, also known as the “Political Sculptor“, has gained quite the attention for finding himself among a controversy surrounding the Super Bowl Halftime show by Katy Perry.
It all started when Sosa, who is known for creating politically satirical 3D printed figurines, decided to create a 3D figurine of “Left Shark”, who many may say was the star of the Halftime show. Even Katy Perry went so far as to claim him the “Super Bowl MVP”. Soon after, word got back to Katy Perry’s legal team, a cease and desist order was issued to Sosa, demanding that he remove the 3D printed Left Shark figurine from Shapeways.
Sosa was less than pleased by the request, as he himself, as well as several lawyers who have chimed in, claim that a “dancing shark” can not be copyrighted. Whether he is right or not would be up to a judge to decide, but there is no doubt that the debate has created a lot to talk about.
In the meantime, however, Sosa has created a new figurine, called “Blue Drunk Shark“, which looks extremely similar to his original “Left Shark” design, and has made it available via Shapeways. At the same time, Sosa has also launched a gofundme campaign in order to raise $500 for his own legal fund.
“I’m now represented by Christopher Sprigman, Professor New York University School of Law,” writes Sosa on his campaign page. “As You know [a] Certain Celebrity sent their lawyers after me. Not going to say who it is, but [it] rhymes with Merry. Anyways these lawyers who also happen to represent people trying to suppress marriage equality in Florida, claim they own the rights of anything depicted in a half time show, including a blue aquatic figure also know as a shark.”
Sosa goes onto explain that he is merely an artist looking to make a living on Shapeways, and believes that he was not in the wrong by trying to sell 3D printed copies of “Left Shark”. At the time this article was written, Sosa had raised $340 of the $500 he is looking for, so it appears as though he is well on his way of reaching his goal.
It should really be interesting to see what comes of all this. Will Sosa and his attorney fight this cease and desist order? It would seem as though the legal costs could quickly escalate beyond the $500 figure that Sosa is trying to raise. Whatever comes of this, it could prove to be a rather important landmark case for the 3D printing space. We have known for quite some time now that there would be plenty of intellectual property issues that arise from this relatively new technology, so whatever the outcome of this is, it could end up setting precedence for future cases.
What do you think? Should Sosa be allowed to sell 3D printed Left Shark figurines, or should Katy Perry have legal claim to the character? Discuss in the Left Shark forum thread on 3DPB.com. If you would like to support Sosa and his cause, you may do so here.