Jeff Koons Says He Owns Balloon Dogs

Artist files copyright complaint against bookend maker
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 1:39 PM CST
A more than 10-foot-high chromium stainless steel sculpture of a balloon-animal dog, titled "Balloon Dog," by Jeff Koons, is seen on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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(Newser) – Jeff Koons, the pop artist famous for making shiny, 10-foot-tall statues in the shape of balloon-animal dogs, is now taking legal action against a company that makes book-ends in a similar shape, and a gallery gift shop that sells them. Which is pretty ironic, the New York Times points out, because Koons has made a career of appropriating pop culture imagery, and has been successfully sued for copyright violation three times.

Imm-Living, the company making the book ends, says they’re not copies of Koons’ statues—the shape is slightly different, and they come in matte colors rather than shiny ones. “We’re more than willing to vigorously defend this,” a company lawyer said. “We think they’re totally wrong.” So far Koons has only sent a cease-and-desist order, not filed a lawsuit; experts tell the Times that a suit likely would fail. There's no word yet on whether Koons' lawyers will be contacting birthday party clowns, too.

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