Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd.
I chose to research Michael Snow’s case against the Eaton Centre as it is a great example of what can happen in the area of Moral Rights in Canada.
Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd. is a case involving an artist named Michael Snow, who created a sculpture known as “Flight Stop” featuring 60 flying geese which was sold to The Eaton Centre.
The defendant attached ribbons to the necks of the geese in connection with a Christmas display without the knowledge or consent of the artist. Snow brought an action against the Centre to get an injunction to have the ribbons removed. (An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order, whereby a party is required to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts)
Michael had argued that the ribbons ruined the integrity his work. Michael Snow stated to the court that his work had been made to look ridiculous by adding the ribbons and suggested that the way The Eaton Centre has treated his work was not any different than putting earrings on the Venus de Milo. The opinion was based both on the opinion of Snow as well as the testimony of experts in the art community. The court was satisfied that the ribbons did distort the plaintiff’s work and that his concern that this treatment would defame his honour or reputation was reasonable. The injunction was granted and the defendants were ordered to have the ribbons removed from the necks of the geese.
The court ruling in favour of Michael Snow serves as landmark for artists and their Moral Rights, raising the standards all together.