Artificial by Nature: Plastic Flowers as Intangible Properties
23 August @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
In March 1961, the refusal of entry of a ‘Sweetheart Roses’ consignment into the United States began a series of interesting controversies concerning the copyright in plastic roses, geraniums, lilacs, and flower corsages. Although the history of these cases remains largely unexplored, this paper shows how significant they were in addressing the unstable distinction between the natural and the artificial, particularly when the subsistence of copyright was at stake. Artificial flowers simulated nature, but they did so in ways that forced copyright to construct its subject matter differently. The irony implicit here resulted in the law looking at flower construction as an artifice but trying to legitimate it by grounding the question of originality in the way nature itself was approached.
About People, Plants and the Law Online Lecture Series
The People, Plants, and the Law lecture series explores the legal and lively entanglements of human and botanical worlds.
Today people engage with and relate to plants in diverse and sometimes divergent ways. Seeds—and the plants that they produce—may be receptacles of memory, sacred forms of sustenance, or sites of resistance in struggles over food sovereignty. Simultaneously, they may be repositories of gene sequences, Indigenous knowledge, bulk commodities, or key components of economic development projects and food security programs.
This lecture series explores the special role of the law in shaping these different engagements, whether in farmers’ fields, scientific laboratories, international markets, or elsewhere.