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Sarasota Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 7 years ago

Unconditional Surrender deal in the works

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Two days before a Jan. 31 deadline to reach a deal, the attorney for The Sculpture Foundation, owner of Unconditional Surrender, submitted an offer to the city.

The Sculpture Foundation would set aside $400,000 of the $500,000 to protect the city against any copyright-infringement lawsuit.

A World War II veteran wants to buy the sculpture, which is similar to the famous Life magazine photo of a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day, and donate it to the city.

City commissioners, who say they fear a possible copyright-infringement lawsuit from Time-Life, insisted The Sculpture Foundation license Unconditional Surrender.

But sculptor Seward Johnson refused, because he said it was not a copy of the Life magazine photo.

Early last month, the commission issued a final deadline, saying if an agreement is not reached by Jan. 31, Unconditional Surrender would be removed from the bayfront in May.

There have been at least five other sculptures around the country similar to Unconditional Surrender, including one directly across from Time’s New York headquarters, and the company has not sued.

For that reason, The Sculpture Foundation believes a lawsuit is unlikely, but it said even if a copyright claim was filed, it would likely be between $5,000 and $30,000.

The Foundation has offered to set aside the $400,000 until the statute of limitations on copyrights expires.
Commissioners may decide at today’s City Commission meeting whether to accept that offer.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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