Also, it can be used in art. As some newspapers reported, Surrey NanoSystems has just provided British-Indian artist Sir Anish Kapoor (that of ArcelorMittal Orbit) with exclusive rights to paint using "Vantablack". While Surrey and Sir Kapoor have not disclosed the details of the agreement, the British company confirmed that - from now on - Mr Kapoor alone can paint using Vantablack.
Now, there are two ways to address this issue. The first one is to start a serious reflection on the death of artistic freedom and the intrinsically-mean nature of IP rights. The second is to be on the Dark Side. As many people have already gone for the former, we will go for the latter.
The story of Sir Kapoor acquiring exclusive rights on Vantablack is indeed amazing for many reasons.
|"But what about the |
artistic freedom?!1?" [yawns]
Even darker would be this story if the IP right that Sir Kapoor acquired was a trade secret. It would be Draconian security measures. More challenging would be how the trade-secret regime could apply in the art field. For instance, the "reasonable steps" for an artist to keep the way in which its colour is manufactured secret could be significantly different from those that a company, a military body, or a bank could be expected to take to protect the secrecy of their commercial information.
|Sir Anish Kapoor, |
(Vantablack on canvas)
Sir Kapoor is not the first artist wishing to acquire rights over colours [Yives Klein and International Klein Blue is the prior art, in this field]. This story seems to tell something more, though. As technology is becoming more and more important in artistic creation, IP rights seem to make apparent what many artists have been alleging since a while [insert abused art=making money quotation]: art is not so different from other businesses, and artists could well-be like other business men -- creating their products, protecting them via soft- and hard-IP rights, and acquiring immaterial assets to distinguish their works from the others on the market. Considering the wonders that the marriage between technology and creativity could bring, this Kat is not entirely sure that the Vantablack's tale should be considered so badly. It's not a disgrace, it's avant-garde.