Three months ago, artist Francis Hwang was blocked from selling an unauthorized Special-Edition Negativland vs. U2 IPod on eBay’s auction site after Apple complained it violated its copyrights.
So now Hwang has decided to ditch eBay. He’s selling the iPod on his own website with the intention of turning a statement about pop culture into a free speech issue — even if Apple launches a legal challenge.
[…] “I paid money to Apple and I used my own credit card to buy a U2 iPod, said Hwang, “This thing that I’m selling is mine to do so.”
Hwang may be playing with fire. Apple is famously litigious. The company has sued many times to protect its intellectual property rights and trademarks, and is currently suing several journalists for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets.
But Hwang said he is confident Apple will not take legal action. The company, he said, has no legal grounds whatsoever to object to the iPod’s sale.
Hwang said his Negativland vs. U2 iPod does not violate any of Apple’s intellectual property rights: It cannot be confused with an official Apple product, and because he bought the Negativland CDs and the original iPod, he’s at liberty to resell them.
“I’m not a martyr,” he said. “I’m not going to take a fall so people can feel good about themselves. I want to show that if you pick your battles carefully you can win.”
From the auction site:
Bidders should be aware that Apple Computer has alleged that this parody is in violation of its intellectual property rights. Francis Hwang disclaims any and all loss or liability resulting from, but not limited to: (1) glee experienced due to the thumbing of one’s nose at a large corporation’s abuse of intellectual property law; (2) ontological anxiety about whether to treat the Unauthorized iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition as a collectible artifact of an online performance or a quickly obsolescing consumer appliance; (3) the desire to gloat to one’s friends and associates about the possession of this product.