The Fruit of Copyright

Down in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the streets are lined with pear trees, a local artist thinks he has a copyright on the idea of a giant illuminated pear made from chicken wire.

The pear has been part of Fredericksburg’s First Night celebrations for a number of years. Here’s a photo of the Fredericksburg Pear. The existing pear, which was designed by our complainant, got destroyed after the last First Night, and the city held a design competition for a new one:

For 11 years now, First Night® Fredericksburg has evolved into Fredericksburg’s premier New Year’s Eve Party. Over 10,000 people came out to the downtown area in 2004 to enjoy the festivities with music, dance, magic, and laughter. Each year at midnight the First Night® Pear drops from the top of the ladder of the Fredericksburg Tower 1 fire truck and, with a shower of confetti, a New Year is celebrated.

During the 2005 celebration, the Pear used for the past 11 years was damaged beyond repair… First Night® Fredericksburg needs a new Pear! We are asking you, the community, to submit design proposals for the new First Night® Pear. The winning artist(s) will be awarded $1,000 for design and construction of the new Pear.

The designer of the original pear objects to the whole proceeding; he thinks the city should pay him for the “rights” to the Fredericksburg Pear. The competition closed on May 2. No word (that I could find) on whether the city got submissions for a new pear.