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Danish Supreme Court rules newspaper did not violate copyright of Copenhagen’s The Little Mermaid statue

Denmark’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overruled two lower courts, saying a cartoon depicting Copenhagen’s The Little Mermaid statue as a zombie and a photo of it with a face mask did not violate the copyright of the famous bronze.

The Berlingske newspaper published the cartoon in 2019 to illustrate an article about the level of debate in Denmark and used the photo in 2020 to represent a link between the far right and people fearing COVID-19.

Copenhagen’s district court and the Eastern High Court found in 2020 and 2022 that the cartoon and the photo were infringements of the Danish Copyright Act, and ordered the newspaper — one of Denmark’s largest — to pay the heirs of Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen thousands of kroner in compensation.

DENMARK’S FAMOUS LITTLE MERMAID STATUE VANDALIZED WITH COLORS OF THE RUSSIAN FLAG

“It would have been a problem for the freedom of the media to do what we were created to do — namely to run a journalistic business, including satirical cartoons — if we had been convicted,” Jensen said.

The plaintiffs were the heirs of sculptor Eriksen, who created the girl-size mermaid that has been sitting on a rock at the entrance of the Copenhagen harbor since 1913.

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