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Row over Fearless Girl statue in Australia

By Marianne Curphey

State Street argues copyright violation in court

The Fearless Girl is at the centre of a court battle over trademark violations after a new version of the statue appeared in Australia.

The original bronze statue was unveiled in March 2017 in Manhattan’s Financial District. It originally faced down Wall Street’s charging bull but has since been moved.

, which purchased the original Fearless Girl, said at the time that it was a symbol of its investment in companies that put women on their boards. However, the financial services firm later faced criticism for its own record on advancing women.

According to the New York Times, Kristen Visbal, the artist who created the original statue, said she has been commissioned to create Fearless Girl sculptures in London, Oslo, and Stevensville and Maryland, in addition to the Melbourne and New York City editions.

In court, State Street has claimed the other statues are unauthorised copies.

This week lawyers for the firm appeared in Federal Court in Melbourne, Australia, claiming that Maurice Blackburn, a personal injury firm that commissioned the Australian copy, is violating the trademark and diluting the company’s message.

Lawyers for Maurice Blackburn argue State Street did not obtain the rights to the statue at the time of the original purchase.

Visbal has begun a campaign, which she calls Free Fearless, in an effort to assert control over the rights to her statue.

In 2017 State Street paid $5m (£39m) to settle claims that it discriminated against 305 top female employees by paying them less than men in the same positions.

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