GREENVILLE, Mich. — This town’s statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid” is a symbol of its proud Danish heritage. Now some are saying she doesn’t have permission to be in the country.
Nobody disputes the sculpture — installed in 1994 as part of Greenville’s annual Danish Festival — was inspired by the famous one in Copenhagen.
. . . The problem is that this ode to the old country allegedly infringes the copyright of Danish artist Edvard Eriksen. In May, just as preparations for this year’s Danish-themed festivities were getting under way, the town got a letter from the Artists Rights Society — a New York-based organization that enforces copyrights on behalf of artists, including Andy Warhol and Picasso. The letter said that the statue is an “unauthorized reproduction” and had to come down. If not, the town would have to pay a licensing fee.