February 12, 2013

The Bluenose II in court

Filed under: Cancon, History, Law — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:14

The descendents of the designer of the original Bluenose are in court to demand the “copyright, and the moral rights in the copyright work” of the vessel which probably should be called the “Bluenose III“:

The Bluenose sank to the bottom in 1946; the replica Bluenose II was built in 1963, and then rebuilt in recent years and launched from the Lunenburg wharf this past September amid much fanfare and, as the province’s accountants could tell you, serious cost overruns.

No matter. This was a gala affair. Only Joan Roué and her father, Lawrence J. Roué — grandson of William J. Roué — were not among the smiling guests and proceeded to file suit against the province, the boat designers and boat builders in October, alleging that despite “the province owning the vessel … Joan and Lawrence Roué allege that they are respectively entitled to the copyright, and the moral rights in the copyright work” associated with the latest incarnation of the famous schooner.

To which the province responded — and I am paraphrasing here — “are you people kidding me?” while contending in court filings that William J. Roué’s storied original design perhaps wasn’t all that original to begin with, and, even if it were a singular masterpiece, that he had already been paid for it decades ago.

I posted about the “new” Bluenose II last year, explaining why I think they should have incremented the number in the vessel’s official name:

Wooden sailing ships are subject to far more wear and tear than modern vessels: they’re like the old tale of the farmer’s axe (even though everything’s been replaced over time, it’s still the same axe). This means that heritage sailing ships need lots of careful maintenance throughout their lives, and major re-builds at long intervals. In the case of Nova Scotia’s iconic Bluenose II, however, it’s sometimes more than a “rebuild” […] So, just to sum up: she’s being built to a different design (even though outward appearance is much the same), using different materials. In what way can you call her the same ship? The point made in the article, that the masts and sails were some of the “originals” being re-used is odd: those are among the parts that need replacing more often. And the mahogany and walnut saved from the last boat are almost certainly decorative elements, not structural ones.

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