'Charging Bull' sculptor accuses NYC of violating his rights

"Charging Bull" was installed in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the middle of the night in December 1989.

In a letter sent to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and provided to PBS NewsHour, Di Modica's lawyers argue that the placement of Fearless Girl violates the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which protects artists against distortion or modification of their work.

So far in her young life, New York City's Fearless Girl has drawn countless tourists, a metric ton of media coverage and its fair share of praise as a symbol of the fight for gender equity - so much, in fact, that the statue staring down the financial district's famous Charging Bull recently got a new lease on life, at least through 2018.

Di Modica and his lawyer, Norman Siegel, are expected to hold a new conference on Wednesday where they will explain how and why they will challenge the city officials who allowed the statue to remain.

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The Italian-born sculptor says the presence of "Fearless Girl" infringes on his own artistic copyright to the "Charging Bull", by changing the creative dynamic to include the other bold presence.

"We're not saying that it should be moved out of the city".

Di Modica calls the statue an "advertising trick" created by two corporate giants - State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based investment giant, and McCann, its NY advertising firm.

The sculptor came to him about 10 days ago, said Siegel, the former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union handling the case with attorney Steven Hyman.

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But Visbal has made no secret of her admiration for her statue's massive counterpart: "The bull is lovely", she told The New York Post in March.

A spokeswoman for the mayor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"[De Blasio] is not addressing the issues here, of whether or not there is copyright or trademark infringement, and what due diligence did the city of NY do to granting the permit", Siegel said. It was installed after the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the "strength and power of the American people".

As for the index fund, State Street wrote in a statement that it was "grateful" to the city of NY for its support of what the Fearless Girl represents: "the power and potential of having more women in leadership", it said.

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